Gaggle Speaks

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

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Written by Lisa Railton
on March 17, 2020

Focused on student safety and security, Northern York County School District (NYCSD) in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, regularly implements new tools and technology to keep its campuses safe. Serving more than 3,000 students across four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, the district needed a system to monitor students’ online activity after implementing a 1:1 laptop initiative.

NYCSD adopted Gaggle to review and analyze the content students were posting through their school Office 365 accounts. “We hired a new technology director who had worked in the private sector and with the Pennsylvania State Police. At that time, we were only using Gaggle at one of our schools on a pilot basis,” explained Superintendent Eric Eshbach. “His background in online security led him to believe that Gaggle would be a good addition to the 1:1 laptop program we were rolling out.”

During its first semester of using a student safety platform, NYCSD addressed 31 reports of questionable content as well as five reports of possible student safety issues. In one instance, a student used his computer to write a suicide note to his family detailing his plan, outlining his struggles, and essentially saying goodbye to them. Gaggle flagged the document as a potential problem and immediately alerted the school’s administrators.

“It was clear through the language that this was a unique situation and a very serious one,” said Principal Steve Lehman of Northern York High School, whose team came up with a plan of action that involved both a call to the boy’s family and a welfare check by local police. The student has since received the emotional support needed to address his struggles. “Because of the urgency that was shared through his document,” said Lehman, “we definitely believe that we helped save a life that day.”

 

“We’ve come to a point in our society in which the school cannot be the sole provider and the sole protector of our students. We truly have to work as a community through this process.”
Eric Eshbach, Superintendent

Read the NYCSD success story to learn more about how a student’s life was saved as a result of Gaggle’s diligence and immediate alerts.

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