Gaggle Speaks

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

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Written by Kaitlyn Schlesinger
on January 28, 2020

The subject of data privacy is something that has captivated the media and concerned consumers for the last several years. For parents, those concerns may be redoubled, instigating worries about their child’s data and ensuring that they’re safe and secure while using online tools.

Educators are no strangers to these concerns. With federal mandates about how and when districts can use student data, it’s a constant topic of inquiry and discussion among school leaders. School leaders need tools (like Gaggle) that empower students and teachers while maintaining a high standard of adherence to HIPAA and FERPA.

In fact, Gaggle complies with HIPAA and FERPA guidelines and was one of the first companies to sign the Student Privacy Pledge. “We didn’t hesitate when asked to be one of the first companies to sign this important data privacy pledge. Gaggle has … always maintained clear terms regarding how we treat student data,” said Gaggle CEO and founder Jeff Patterson, in a press release issued after Gaggle signed the Student Privacy Pledge.

Gaggle has been working with K-12 school districts for over 20 years and has always maintained clear terms regarding how we treat student and staff data. Year after year, we’ve pledged to reinforce our commitment by aligning with the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) to advance data privacy protection regarding the collection, use, and maintenance of personal information.

As part of that pledge, we:

  • Never sell student or staff information
  • Never show advertising to any student, staff member, or administrator
  • Will not change our privacy policies without notice
  • Only use data for authorized education purposes
  • Strictly enforce limits on retaining data
  • Support parental access to their child's information
  • Champion comprehensive security standards
  • Maintain transparency about collection and use of data
  • Remove all district data when their contract is not renewed

In addition to these rigorous standards, Gaggle does not monitor students’ personal social media accounts or personal email accounts. Gaggle firmly believes in a student’s right to privacy and recommends that districts notify students and parents of their Gaggle implementation early and often.

Walking the tightrope between student privacy and safety can be a balancing act. Even with federal regulations in place, it can be challenging to know if students’ data is truly being protected. Gaggle passed an independent privacy evaluation by Common Sense Media with a score beating other solutions with similar features. According to the report, Gaggle “implements strict restrictions on how data may be accessed. Additional security measures are in place to prevent and identify data tampering.”

It is Gaggle’s commitment to maintaining student safety without compromising student privacy that has K-12 districts across the United States using Gaggle year after year. Ask parents what they want—their students to be safe; ask school districts what they need—to keep students secure when using school-provided technology. Gaggle’s primary mission is to serve those wants and needs.

Keeping students safe while maintaining data privacy is an ongoing mission that Gaggle is deeply committed to. Subscribe to our blog to discover how we’re nurturing that commitment, keeping schools and students safe, and staying current on trends in education.

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