Jupiter High School gets extra mental health support after student emergency

Many parents and students continue to have questions about a student medical emergency that prompted a lockdown and tense day at Jupiter Community High School on Thursday.

While we don’t know the exact circumstances surrounding the medical incident because of privacy laws, we do know it had a big impact on the school community.

Every Palm Beach County public school has a counselor and behavioral health specialist on campus. But something like Thursday’s emergency brings out more support with therapy dogs, additional counselors, and really a whole team.

But what does that look like to those going through it?


“When we came back that first Monday, third period, and the seat was empty, we kind of took a moment ourselves,” said Olympic Heights Community High School math teacher Amy Baer.

Baer sadly knows what it’s like to experience tragedy in her school community.

Last month, one of her students died in a crash while riding his bicycle on US 441 in west Boca Raton.

“It was a shock to all of us,” Baer said. “Administration sent us an email that we have extra resources available on campus to the staff and the students.”

Baer took advantage, bringing her students together to talk with additional mental health counselors on campus.

“Relating it to them in a way, too, that I was feeling the same way they were,” Baer said. “I was angry and upset. And being able to have them there to talk us through everything was really great.”

Some of those same resources are now on campus at Jupiter Community High School after a medical emergency involving a student put the school on lockdown Thursday and really shook up many students and staff.

“Timing is critical. When an event occurs, we are ready to go,” said Keith Oswald, the chief of equity and wellness for the School District of Palm Beach County.

Oswald was at Jupiter Community High School on Thursday as the situation unfolded and said the district had a crisis team that responded immediately.

“These individuals really provide that emotional support that is needed after any type of situation,” Oswald said. “So that on-time support of counseling services, one-on-one, small groups, support to families.”

Oswald said the district also has community agencies that provide services at dozens of schools, including Jupiter Community High School.

“We have over 10 that provide therapists right on our school campuses,” Oswald said. “Those are free services that really go deeper for mental and behavioral health support for our students.”

Oswald said more than 30,000 Palm Beach County students took advantage of on-campus mental health services last school year, showing that the need is there on any given day, but especially after a traumatic event.

“It was quite inspiring to see how many people wanted to come together to respond, to really support the community and those kids and make sure they were OK,” Oswald said.

The School District of Palm Beach County said the student continues to receive treatment in the hospital.

Fundraiser for Jupiter High student who had medical episode at school

The Jupiter Community High School basketball team turned Friday night’s game into a fundraiser for that student and his family. All ticket sales will go to the family, and people can make donations at the game as well.

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