The headteachers of 10 Jewish schools have written an unprecedented joint letter to pupils and parents in the wake of the sudden death of a JFS Year 10 female student.
The headteachers of all major Jewish schools in the UK, including JCoSS, Hasmonean Boys School and Hasmonean Girls School, King David in Liverpool, King David in Manchester, Kantor King Solomon High School, Immanuel College, Yavneh Schools and JFS wrote: “It is with great sadness that we write following the tragic news of the passing of a Year 10 student at JFS late last week.
We as headteachers work together very closely on all sorts of matters and we would like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the family and friends of the young person and to the entire JFS community.
“We know how special and close a Jewish school community can be, and how such devastating news can affect pupils, staff and governors and we want them to know that we are thinking of them. JFS is a school with a long, proud tradition which offers a full range of counselling and wellbeing services, as do all of our schools thanks to the support of the Jewish Leadership Council’s wellbeing programme, and we are sure that JFS pupils will receive the support they require.”
The letter continues: “Please make sure that you are talking to your children about their online/social media activities; making sure there is nothing ‘hidden’ on their phone; using parental controls; checking their phones regularly; keeping their phones out of bedrooms and in public spaces wherever possible.”
In a letter to parents and pupils last Friday, JFS headteacher Rachel Fink wrote: It is with much sadness that I need to tell you that one of our year 10 students, (Jewish News has withheld her name) has passed away suddenly. It is never easy to share this type of news and wanted you to be aware in order that you can support your children over the weekend should they wish to talk about this with you.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends. Some students in school, particularly friends will be finding this news very difficult. Other students – not just close friends – may find this very upsetting. I appreciate that there are likely to be many feelings and many questions, even more so because of all our recent experiences during the pandemic.”
She continued: “It is very important that your children attend school next week and we will be here to support them. We have set up a support space in the shul for students where there will be people to talk to or a quiet space to sit if it feels too much to be in class.
“The support room will be staffed by people who have been trained to support young people after a tragic death. We are working with the Emergency Response Initiative Consortium (comprising Jami, Norwood, CST, JBCS and Grief Encounter) to provide support to students and staff. If you are concerned about your child, please encourage them to use the support room and please email the year team or any member of the senior leadership team.”
There is help available. If you need support, please reach out to:
- Jewish Helpline: http://www.jewishhelpline.org// 0800 652 9249
- Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org// 116 123
- Shout (text based service): text BEYOND to 85258 /https://giveusashout.org/
- Hopeline (provided by Papyrus): https://www.papyrus-uk.org// 0800 068 41 41
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