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Early Intervention & Student Safety, JP Guilbault Shares Expertise

JP Guilbault, CEO of Navigate360, was called upon to share his expertise regarding the troubling trends of suicide threats and active shooters in schools. In the interview, Guilbault shares supporting data from Navigate360, highlighting the need for early intervention as part of schools’ safety plans. 

This story originally appeared in News4SA, March 9, 2023. Read the full article here

With many schools unprepared for threats, a Texas mother leads the way for change 

Emily Baucum 

SAN ANTONIO – An alarming new government survey reveals just how prepared American public schools are for threats like suicides and active shooters. 

The Trouble Shooters dive into the numbers and show you the work being done in Texas to change them. 

Only 55% of public schools told the U.S. Department of Education they are very prepared for suicide threats. Just 24% say they are very prepared for active shooters. Most schools say they’re just somewhat prepared. 

“It’s a difficult time for parents and educators across this country,” says JP Guilbault from Navigate 360. 

The software company operates a program called Detect [formerly known as Social Sentinel] that scans public social media posts for threats in one in four schools across the country, including Northeast ISD and the Uvalde district. 

“We see 4,000 alerts and tips per week on issues related to drugs and overdoses, weapons, bullying,” Guilbault says. “In just this school year alone, threats of self-harm are up 51%. Weapons are up 20-some percent.” 

He says self-harm threats rise in the fall and winter. The company shares information like this with districts to help with their safety plans. 

“The schools are in a state of constant staffing challenges, both at the counselor and teacher level,” Guilbault says. “And what they need are the right tools that can help them identify those kids that are certainly in need, but also approaching levels of need, so they can get them the right care and intervention sooner.” 

A new CDC survey shows mid-pandemic in 2021, about one in three American high school girls considered suicide. More than half reported feeling “persistently sad or hopeless,” a record high. 

“It breaks my heart. We need to do more,” San Antonio mother Maurine Molak says. 

Seven years ago, her son David took his own life after being pushed to the brink by cyberbullies. She started David’s Legacy Foundation to make real change. 

Molak spoke with us a day after meeting with the head of the Texas Education Agency to get the ball rolling on new programs approved by state lawmakers. 

“Schools are going to be required to have lessons on cyberbullying and bullying and the science behind it. And to try to get kids to understand that reporting is a key part of keeping our schools safe,” Molak says. 

She envisions programs that can be customized for both rural and urban school districts, and all age groups starting with Pre-K. 

She’s also working with the state on “school culture surveys” of students. 

“So that we understand what’s happening on every single campus and that if a school has an increased number of reports, that does not necessarily mean that the school has an issue, a problem. It means that they’re doing a great job in teaching their kids the importance of reporting so that we can keep all of our campuses safe,” Molak says. 

These programs will take time to implement but she’s hopeful they will prevent more student lives from being cut far too short. 

“I just don’t want any other family to have to endure the pain that we endure every single day,” Molak says. 

Parents, you can do your part by knowing school policy for threats. And students, experts say you’ll be the ones most likely to see red flags online so it’s up to you to report what you see to a trusted adult.

The Ultimate Guide to Whole-Child Safety, Wellness & Success in K-12 Schools

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