A teenager who lost her brother to leukaemia is using her experience to help bereaved schoolchildren.
Jasmine Crayton, from Trekenner in Cornwall, found returning to school after her brother died three years ago to be incredibly tough. Now she is working with Fixers, a national movement of young people fixing issues they feel strongly about. Jasmine is one of a group of Cornish teenagers who want schools to better understand the needs of their pupils if they lose a loved one.
When Jasmine returned to school after her brother Jordan’s death, she was bullied by other pupils and believes her teachers could have done more to help.
The 17-year-old said: “After Jordan died I went back to school about a month later. You don’t want to be wrapped in cotton wool but you don’t want to be just expected to be normal as soon as you go back.
“A group of children in my class felt that I was getting special treatment. I was bullied because they were jealous.”
Jordan was 16 when he died in April 2010 after losing his battle with leukaemia.
Jasmine added: “Jordan was my best friend. He was the happiest person I know and the bravest person.”
Jasmine and the Fixers, who have all lost a close family member, have been supported by the Cornish bereavement charity Penhaligon’s Friends.
They’re planning to create a magazine for schools to share their experiences with teachers. It is hoped that greater understanding will allow bereaved young people to stay engaged with their studies whilst going through their ordeal.
Jasmine, who has another elder brother called Bradley, said: “It is important that schools take bereavement seriously as it’s quite a delicate matter and some teachers don’t know what to say in some situations so they don’t say anything at all. It would be good for a child who has been through bereavement to have someone in school who they could go to who they could feel safe to talk to.”
About one in 25 young people have experienced bereavement of a parent or sibling, about the same as one child in every classroom in the country, according to charity Winston’s Wish.