Bullets, Books, and Brotherhood: Grief and Recovery in an Urban All-Boys High School after Three Fatal Shootings of Friends

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PhD candidate Nora Gross

Presenter: Nora Gross, Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department and the Education, Culture, and Society program at Penn GSE

Discussing Nora's work will be: Sara Jacoby, Assistant Professor, Nursing, University of Pennsylvania

This ethnographic dissertation analyzes the secondary effects of neighborhood gun violence on the adolescent friends of victims and their high schools. Drawing on two years of fieldwork in one urban all-boys school, I argue that grief, though understudied in this context, is a central dimension in the social lives of youth – and particularly Black boys who experience the highest rates of exposure to the deaths of peers. I propose a set of stages of institutional and personal grief within the school after a student’s death and examine how friends experience and express their grief (including through social media), how school policies and practices support and constraint students’ recovery, and the consequences of our society’s too-frequent neglect of Black boys’ emotional lives.