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Understanding the Challenges We Face

Our schools, organizations and law enforcement face increasingly serious issues concerning public and personal safety. This information will help you understand these challenges and what you can do in response.

Addressing Social Problems

Students who participated in evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs scored 13 points higher academically, had a 6% higher high school graduation rate and were 11% more likely to graduate from college.

Remote learning, bullying/harassment and racial injustice are just a few of the social safety problems facing our schools and other communities. Dealing with these problems often requires individuals to speak up about their experiences. Despite that singular nature, conflicts resulting from social problems often permeate through other areas of the organization. Leaders must see the value in addressing these challenges head on to preserve individual safety and organizational culture.

Challenges Caused by Remote Learning

  • While virtual learning keeps us physically safe from spreading COVID-19 in schools, it’s taking a toll academically and socially. The nonprofit testing organization NWEA predicted that students started this school year having lost roughly of a third a year in reading and half of a year in math. And without the ability to spend time with friends, kids are losing their sense of belonging. How can schools help keep students engaged to avoid falling through the cracks?
  • Pandemic-related challenges created new stressors for families. Some educators reported increased absenteeism or other concerning behaviors by students. When multiple warning signs signal trouble academically and socially, it’s time to respond to the challenges. Read through the resources below to gain a clearer understanding about how to recognize and address concerning behavior to steer students back toward a positive path.

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The Destructive Power of Bullying

  • A recent Zogby/Navigate360 survey found that just 42% of teens think their school/workplace has a defined process to report threats/incidents (including bullying). Without a safety net to report threatening behavior, students may become hopeless and think that no one cares about their situation.
  • Bullying can have long-lasting effects on teens, including depression, substance abuse, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts and actions. As a double-edged sword, bullies often require as much intervention (if not more) than their victim(s). Dig into the resources below to understand how your entire school staff can both recognize and prevent bullying to help all students thrive.

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Sexual Harassment in Our Schools & Workplaces

  • Sexual harassment is threatening behavior that affects people of all ages and all industries. Yet, only 50% of adults who participated in a Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll say their workplace has a defined process to report (sexual harassment or violent) threats.
  • Harassment puts employees — and the business — in danger. Visit Navigate360’s Threat Detection & Prevention resources page to learn more about sexual harassment, including ways you can empower employees to report threatening behavior and avoid future violence.

Addressing Challenges About Racial/Cultural Differences

  • After months of the 2020 worldwide health crisis compounded with racial and political tension, 52% of adults feel less safe everywhere now than they did a year ago. This is according to a Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll. While the conversation around racial justice, inequities and other sensitivities can be uncomfortable for some, addressing it head on is the only way to establish a safe and respectful culture where everyone can thrive.
  • Look for ways your school or workplace can normalize these conversations to help all community members move forward productively. A great place to start is social and emotional learning (SEL). SEL helps children and adults navigate a wide range of topics, including conflict resolution, anger management, intolerance and more. Embracing these conversations with people we trust will help us grow individually, and build a culture of civility, safety and understanding.

Explore These Resources to Learn More

Addressing Emotional Issues

72% of Principals at Low Performing Schools believe a larger focus on SEL would greatly improve students’ ability to stay on track to graduate.

Left unaddressed, mental health and other emotional problems can turn tragic. Businesses and schools alike are seeking answers to these problems. With continuing stress and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges will persist well into the future. These problems present a clear opportunity to normalize social-emotional learning for all ages (something that, with widespread adoption, could greatly improve our communities for years to come). Take a closer look at the safety challenges surrounding emotional problems.

The Mental Health Crisis

  • We know there is a link between stress and acts of violence. Situational stress has increased at societal levels due to isolation, uncertainty and loss during the pandemic. However, only 45% of adults in a Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll say they/their colleagues will know what to do in a violent event/critical emergency.
  • Translation: we’ve prioritized safety in words (through company emails, school newsletters to parents, safety signage, etc.) but not in actions. If we aren’t willing to properly address stress and mental health, we risk violent behavior toward ourselves and/or those around us. Click on the resources below to learn more about how your organization can create broader access to mental health services

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Suicide – The Other Epidemic

  • While we combat the physical health issues brought on by COVID-19, the mental health repercussions of a year of pandemic life have led to an increase in suicides. Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.
  • Whether your school is meeting in-person or virtually, maintaining connectedness throughout the pandemic is critical for recognizing dangerous behavior and intervening to help teens. Turn to Navigate360 resources for insight on preventing student harm to self and others.

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Challenges to Physical Safety

70% of Americans only feel safe in their homes.

Physical safety is essential to a productive environment and for ensuring long-term success for your entire community. COVID creates new challenges to physical safety. Additionally, organizations still lack consistent training and security standards, basic emergency response protocols and violence prevention. Some face budget cuts that threaten safety initiatives, too.

The Effectiveness of Your Organization’s Security Standards & Training

  • Emergency situations are stressful enough, but without everybody on the same page, people panic. In fact, a recent Zogby/Navigate360 survey found only 46% of adults and 50% of teens think their workplace or school has a comprehensive plan to deal with an emergency. Without a plan that increases employee confidence in your organization, you’re planning to fail.
  • There’s no better time than during a global pandemic to start or recommit to building a culture of safety. Your organization can improve safety and build employee confidence with well-documented and up-to-date emergency plans that include training and communication strategies and tools. Check out these resources for more details on aligning security standards within your organization.

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The Critical Gap Between When an Emergency Happens and Help Arrives

  • Navigate360 conducted a poll with John Zogby Strategies finding only 47% of adults who say they/their colleagues will know what to do in an emergency. When that many people don’t know how to respond to emergencies, it’s easy to question if safety is even a priority. If it is, there are many choices for technology, training and education to prepare people for when disaster strikes, leaving almost no excuse to be unprepared.
  • Is your team prepared for an emergency? Will you know what to do during a violent critical incident? Don’t wait to find out. See how other organizations reduce fear, build confidence and increase empowerment of their employees with these emergency preparedness resources.

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The Connection Between Stress, Substance Abuse and School Safety

  • In a recent Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll, 43% of teens reported that their concern for their own personal safety made them “choose to not attend or participate in a day of school, work or another event.” Skipping one day/event isn’t a big deal. But a prolonged pandemic may lead susceptible people to lapse into vaping or using drugs and alcohol. Excessive use – along with increased absenteeism – may serve as indicators for future violence from the abuser.
  • Drugs and alcohol affect a student’s physical wellbeing and academic success. Early detection of substance abuse problems is key to avoid long-term consequences, but schools also need help to address these issues with curriculum, training and best practices in a timely and clear format.

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Effects of School Violence

  • A Zogby/Navigate360 survey found that 61% of teens feel they may encounter violence and 54% feel that such an incident could prevent them from achieving future goals. While these numbers are dismaying, the fact is that students can become violent while on school property, and teens need to know how to respond effectively. Schools that don’t take initiative to equip students are risking students’ long-term success.
  • There’s no doubt how school shootings, fighting and other trauma affects children, but doing nothing to prepare for these possibilities is far worse. Give students options to respond to violence with life skills that can be used by anyone anywhere. To learn more about preventing and responding to violence in schools, visit our Navigate360 Training Institute page.

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Maintaining School Safety & Mental Health Services Despite Budget Cuts

  • According to the Navigate360/Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll, only 42% of teens say their school is spending enough time and money to keep students safe. If less than half of schools are already perceived as not doing enough on the safety front, how much worse will it get when COVID-era budget cuts take over? Schools need mental health programs now more than ever, but it’s difficult to make a case for those over physical building security.
  • Students are not ready to learn unless they feel safe emotionally and socially. Navigate360 resources help your team discover budget-friendly strategies to increase access to mental health training and other interventions. Read through the links below to see how your organization can do more to support the emotional safety of your people.

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Addressing Budgetary Challenges

COVID-19 slowed the economy, resulting in state budget shortfalls estimated to be about 25% in fiscal year 2021.

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended state education budgets, leaving many administrators unsure how to plan for coming needs. With so many priorities to consider – from operational to safety to academic – How can administrators invest in school safety in times of budgetary restrictions?

Challenges Caused by Budgetary Restriction

  • Even in normal times, it can be a challenge to secure financing for new tools that benefit your schools, staff and students. While competing priorities and limited budgets, you cannot make every purchase that might improve your school operations.
  • Safety should not be sacrificed because of budget. Schools can partner with safety experts and consultants to identify federal and state grants and funding sources that can offset the cost of bringing much-needed training, technology and tools to their schools to continue building a culture of safety. Administrators can also seek out safety solutions customized to meet the specific needs of their district.

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Contact Us to Learn More about Navigate360

Speak with one of our Safety Specialists to learn more about our proactive solutions. Contact us today.

You can also reach us by phone at 330-661-0106. We’re here to help.
“I am thrilled to be part of an organization that is making schools safer spaces for students to thrive. Throughout my career, I’ve seen the impact the right learning environment can have on student success. Looking ahead, I see a huge opportunity for this organization to help promote a culture of safety throughout schools, workplaces, and community spaces.”
John White

Co-Chair of the Advisory Board