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Hi Heather,

I would suggest another name for the course such as "Life Completion" rather than death and dying due to the baggage and negativity attached to those terms. When addressing high school students, I refer to the "body finally shutting down and consciousness detaching from the body" rather than the person dying. It is very clear from mountains of research that consciousness detaches from the brain and persists beyond brain death (check out the 800 pg book, "The Irreducible Mind" by Crabtree, Gould, and Kelly--esp chapter 3). The course should be part of a larger series on life which could focus on the essential issues of finding purpose and meaning in life; the primacy of forming, nurturing, protecting and maintaining relationships; and how real happiness can only be achieved by bringing it to others. To me this sounds better than teaching kids that they are just meat robots, formed by accident in a meaningless universe, programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and to finally break down and cease to exist. The course would be life and love affirming, improving the lives of the child, their future partner, their family, their community, our society and our world.

Hi Heather,
Please contact me regarding this great idea. I am the regional medical director of hospice and AIM for Sutter Sacramento. I am also a national and internationally published writer. I recently had the opportunity to present the topics of death and hospice to 4 classes of high school seniors. It was a fantastic experience for me and the school has asked me back for next year. I made the subject light and entertaining as well as humorous at times. I ended with some of the "goose-bump" stories my staff and I have experienced which confirm the persistence of the consciousness beyond its separation from the body. We change the culture by changing the youth. Yours is the best idea of any I have read. Let's make this happen!