After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 30 While it is understandable that bereaved parents would wish to prevent another suicide death, schools are strongly advised to explain that both presenting this content and holding assemblies or other large events for students is not an effective approach to suicide prevention and may actually be risky. Students suffering from depression or other mental health issues may hear the messaging very differently from the way it is intended, and they may be even more likely to act on their suicidal thoughts. In addition, students are very reluctant to speak in an assembly and may be more trusting in a small group or classroom. A more helpful option is to encourage parents to work with the school to bring an appropriate educational program to the school, such as More Than Sad: Teen Depression, a DVD that educates teens about the signs and symptoms of depression, or others listed on the websites of SPRC and AFSP. Yearbooks If there is a history of dedicating the yearbook (or a page of the yearbook) to students who have died by other causes, that policy is equally applicable to a student who has died by suicide. Final editorial decisions should be made by an adult to ensure that it conforms to the standards in Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide. The staff member in charge of the yearbook should work with the principal and school mental health professionals on these decisions. The focus should be on mental health and/or suicide prevention. Underneath the student’s picture it might say, “In your memory, we will work to erase the prejudice surrounding mental health problems and suicide.” The page might also include pictures of classmates engaging in a suicide prevention event, such as an AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk. Graduation If there is a tradition of including a tribute to deceased students who would have graduated with the class, students who have died by suicide should likewise be included. Schools may wish to include a brief statement acknowledging and naming those students from the graduating class who have died. Final decisions about what to include in such tributes should be made by the principal and appropriate staff. Permanent Memorials and Scholarships Some communities wish to establish a permanent memorial: sometimes physical, such as planting a tree or installing a bench or plaque, and sometimes commemorative, such as a scholarship. While there is no research to suggest that permanent memorials create a risk of contagion, they can be upsetting reminders to bereaved students. Whenever possible, it is recommended they be established off school grounds. The school should bear in mind that once it plants a tree, puts up a plaque, installs a park bench, or establishes a named scholarship for one deceased student, it should be prepared to do so for others, which can become quite difficult to sustain over time. Creative Suggestions Simply prohibiting any and all memorialization is problematic in its own right. It is deeply hurtful to the student’s family and friends and can generate intense negative reactions. Schools can play an important role in channeling the energy and passion of the students (and greater community) in a positive direction, balancing the community’s need to grieve with the impact that the proposed activity will likely have on students, particularly on those who might be vulnerable to contagion.