Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, News & Advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

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Written by Jack Russell
on November 19, 2020

School districts have an obligation to keep students safe in both the physical and digital learning environments. To ensure they’re protecting students—and the district’s liability—on school-issued devices, networks, and platforms, most districts have implemented an acceptable use policy (AUP) to communicate the district’s rules around the use of school-issued devices and the internet.

According to Professional Learning Board, a web-based education professional development provider, one of the best ways to keep students safe is by implementing an AUP. The organization says these policies help schools and districts in three ways:

  • Monitoring and avoiding liabilities caused by school-sanctioned internet activities
  • Safeguarding digital privacy and students
  • Providing students with guidelines for internet use, school devices, interactions, and practices

In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states, “The responsibility of ‘acceptable use’ comes with the privilege of internet access that is afforded to students, staff, and, sometimes, parents. No one should be using the internet in a school or district environment until that person has reviewed and signed the agency’s AUP. Where students are concerned, parents need to review the AUP and complete the signature page, indicating their understanding.”

As indicated in a Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) report, AUPs typically have two dimensions:

  • Protecting students from harmful content and regulating students’ use of the internet so they don’t harm other students or interfere with the learning
  • Providing students with access to digital media in order to support engaged learning

One way districts can help protect students within the context of their AUP is by turning to Gaggle. For more than 20 years, Gaggle has helped hundreds of districts avoid tragedies and save lives while also protecting against district liability. Using a powerful combination of technology and trained safety experts, Gaggle’s student safety platform helps ensure digital safety by providing real-time monitoring of collaborative learning platforms, such as Microsoft Office 365, Google’s G Suite for Education, and Canvas.

In an interview with Gaggle, Dr. Eric Eshbach, former superintendent of Northern York County School District in Pennsylvania, spoke about how Gaggle helps the district protect students within the context of the AUP and how he would address anyone who challenges student privacy.

“If anyone ever questioned me on the privacy issues behind this, I would remind them that we’re very upfront and forward about our one-to-one laptop program and what that means. These laptops are district-owned, they follow our AUP, and they're using our network. Even when students are on their home network, they’re using our device, and we can monitor that,” said Dr. Eshbach, who is now the assistant executive director for the Pennsylvania Principals Association.

He went on to say, “To anybody who questions privacy, my response would be: ‘I saved a life. I prevented a tragedy. I kept a student from harming themselves or harming others. If you want to challenge me on the privacy of that, I’d be happy to have that conversation on the tail end, but I’m not going to change my behavior when it means helping students.’”

To learn more about how Gaggle can help you protect the safety and well-being of your students, schedule a demo with a Gaggle representative in your area.

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