Lightspeed Safety Specialist, Jacob Troost, understands first-hand the impact his work has on saving kids’ lives. We had the opportunity to chat with Jacob to learn more about him, his background, and what his role as a Safety Specialist means to him.
My name is Jacob Troost, and I live in Austin, Texas. I have worked at Lightspeed since the beginning of 2021. I enjoy staying at home and spending time with my family — my girlfriend, our two kids, and our dog. Although, recently I’ve been spending a lot more time fishing and enjoying the outdoors.
My background is primarily in K-12 education. After I graduated from college, I started my career as a Literacy Interventionist. I was lucky to work with some really special kids and amazing educators during my teaching career. It opened my eyes to the challenges kids have outside the classroom and because of this, I implemented social emotional learning techniques throughout my lessons.
I’ve also done risk management work with a larger E-commerce company. With my background and training from both of those careers, I felt well-rounded going into this unique position as a Safety Specialist.
One unique feature about our technology is that it is so comprehensive. It allows us to drill down to look at all the details of what students are doing online and look for warning signs. It helps us save lives because we can find students who need help quickly or are going through something hard and may be reaching out. There may be students who don’t realize they need help or are not sure who to talk to. As Safety Specialists we’re trained to pick up on certain behaviors and trends in order to take profound and quick action. It’s a humbling experience.
The greatest asset is the people we have on our team, there is such a wide, but still applicable, breadth of experience from everyone. We have Safety Specialists who had previous careers in law enforcement with experience in high level investigating, and teachers with social emotional learning experience.
One shocking alert that came through was for suicidal ideation. A 5th Grade student was searching: “How to tie a noose”. This type of search gets flagged as an alert, and as a Safety Specialists my job is to do some investigation to determine intent and if there is an imminent threat. The level of detail in the search history showed there was thought, planning, and intent of action from the student. I deemed it an imminent threat and escalated it to the district safety personnel.
The school immediately orchestrated a crisis intervention, and that student was found home alone that same day, and district officials were able to intervene. In some cases, the difference of seconds and minutes can save a student’s life. We’re able to give these schools that time back — it’s really powerful.
What I enjoy most about working at Lightspeed is the people I work with, and our mission. There’s so many different roles and responsibilities, people building our technology and supporting our technology, but we’re all focused on one mission — keeping kids safe.
The technology and results speak to how strong the community, culture, and passion are at Lightspeed. We serve districts across the country, and on multiple continents, but we’re still a small enough company that we can make changes quickly when they’re needed.
Lightspeed is such a collaborative, and dedicated group of people, it feels like there isn’t any challenge we can’t get over when we all put our heads together.