After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 53 Sample Agenda for Parent Meeting Meetings with parents can provide a helpful forum for disseminating information and answering questions. The Crisis Response Team coordinator and all other Crisis Response Team members, the superintendent, and the school principal should attend parent meetings. Representatives from community resources, such as mental health providers, county crisis services, and clergy, may also be invited to be present and provide information. This is a good time to acknowledge that suicide can be a difficult subject to talk about and to distribute the handout Tips for Talking about Suicide. Be sure to consider the racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds of students and parents: • • Address the language needs of parents who speak little or no English. • • Determine if there is any content or format that would feel uncomfortable or inappropriate for those who might attend the meeting. For example, if parents of the deceased are in attendance, how might discussing this in a group setting impact their experience? Large, open-microphone meetings are not advised, since they can result in an unwieldy, unproductive session focused on scapegoating and blaming. The meeting should ideally be broken into two parts. During the first part, presented by school staff, the focus should be on dissemination of general information to parents, without opening the meeting to discussion. During the second part, have parents meet in small groups with trained crisis counselors for questions and discussion. The following is a sample meeting agenda. Part 1 – General Information (45–60 minutes) Crisis Response Team coordinator, school superintendent, or principal: • • Welcomes all and expresses sympathy • • Introduces the school administration and members of the Crisis Response Team • • Expresses confidence in the staff’s ability to assist the students • • Encourages parent and school collaboration during this difficult time • • Reassures attendees that there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion • • States school’s goal of treating this death as it would any other death, regardless of the cause, while remaining aware that adolescents can be vulnerable to the risk of imitative suicidal behavior • • States the importance of balancing the need to grieve with not inadvertently oversimplifying, glamorizing, or romanticizing suicide Principal or Crisis Response Team coordinator: • • Outlines the purpose and structure of the meeting • • Verifies the death (see Sample Death Notification Statement for Parents) • • Discourages the spread of rumors • • Informs parents about the school’s response activities, including to media requests • • Informs parents about the student release policy for funerals