The members of GoGuardian’s Safety Support Team are the human specialists behind Beacon 24/7. They review and escalate alerts that are flagged by our AI as actively planning a suicide, so that school responders can act quickly to get students the support they need. For Mental Health Awareness Month, we’d like to introduce you to some of our Safety Support Specialists. Today, meet Chanelle Montgomery.
What drew you to become a Safety Support Specialist?
Prior to working at GoGuardian, I worked in childcare and education for 10 years with children ranging from ages 3-15! I spent time as a director, coach, TA, and after-school counselor at the very beginning of my career. After becoming a mom in 2017 and returning to work as a TA in 2018, I realized that although I loved being around children every day, it was time to take a different direction in my career path. When I heard about the new Safety Support Specialist position at GG I felt it was heaven sent—to be able to help make sure children are safe and healthy mentally, allowing them to reach their full potential academically (without being in the classroom) sounded like an amazing new path for me. It is an honor to have such an important role and to be a part of such a special team!
Why are trust and safety staff important in today’s digital world?
Our youth today spend an excessive amount of time online, whether it be for leisure or schoolwork. I think it’s safe to say that this may be the case for most of society. Between the apps on our phones, streaming, browsing the web, and working from home, online content can be very consuming of our lives. With children having such easy access to the internet and its endless possibilities, it makes it a tad bit difficult for parents/guardians, teachers, and administrators to monitor their safety.
Having worked at a school that had no firewall on their devices for a while, I saw how many children were struggling “behind the screen.” Trust and safety staff is beyond important in today’s digital world; to me, it is a necessity. More children are experiencing cyberbullying rather than face-to-face bullying. More children are looking for help and resources online before talking to someone in their lives. With trust and safety staff, these issues do not have to be left in the background, and the safety of the children is being kept as a priority, even behind those closed doors.
How do you balance your own self-care while handling serious matters that come with the job?
Balancing my own self-care actually took a lot of thought for me, but it came down to something so simple. That very simple factor is actually putting time aside for myself to tend to my own needs. Making sure at some point every day, I give myself a chance to take a breather, relax, and do something for me! When I am off the clock, I close my laptop, turn off my monitor, breathe, and move forward with my day. Being a mom, it is of extreme importance to make sure my mind is healthy (even more than I did before) in order to make sure my little one is always healthy and happy. Because of this, I make it a priority to do something that makes me feel good, in the midst of viewing heavy content daily.
What impact does your role have on the GoGuardian community?
The Safety Support Specialist role has such a positive impact on the GoGuardian community. Our role is one-of-a-kind and brings that special “it” factor to the company and the Beacon product, along with all of the other great teams and products offered. In our email signatures, a lot of us have “Safer Students. Better Learning.” included in them prior to this role even being created, and I feel like adding our team of Safety Support Specialists has strengthened that phrase even more!