Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

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Written by Jack Russell
on October 20, 2020

With all of the efforts to drive mental health awareness—including the annual observance of World Mental Health Day on October 10—it’s probably no surprise that today’s K-12 students are struggling with mental health conditions.

The statistics are startling. For example, 70% of teens now see anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers, according to a Pew Research Center study. And the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital indicates that suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for children ages 10–19 years old in the U.S.

What may be surprising to some is the young age at which incidents are occurring and students need help. During the 2019–2020 school year, Gaggle analyzed more than 6.25 billion email messages, chats, and files. A further analysis of the data indicated that more than 8,600 total incidents of Drugs & Alcohol, Harassment, Nudity & Sexual Content, Suicide & Self Harm, and Violence Toward Others occured at the elementary school level alone. The two leading categories at this age level were Suicide & Self-Harm at 38% and Violence Toward Others at 32%.

Safeguarding Younger Students
Fortunately, many school districts recognize the need to protect younger students using school-issued devices and learning platforms. Districts’ acknowledgement of this need has risen with the increases in distance and hybrid learning as well as school-issued devices that have taken place since March 2020.

Fillmore Unified School District (USD), a K-12 district in Southern California, is one such district taking preventative measures to safeguard its younger students. A Gaggle partner since January 2020, Fillmore USD has been using Office 365 since 2015 and recently started using both Office and Teams. The district provided devices to students during the pandemic and has more than 2,000 registered users on Teams. Fillmore USD also uses Gaggle to monitor content within ContentKeeper.

“From the moment that our administrator accounts were activated and our training started, we immediately received two notifications about questionable student content,” said Superintendent Dr. Adrian Palazuelos. “Although initially we were only looking to use the platform at the secondary level, our Gaggle client service representatives sprang into action and worked with our IT director to create the increased access and the additional contract for our elementary students.”

Addressing the Need for Elementary Coverage
Fillmore USD wasn’t the only district that extended its Gaggle coverage to include elementary school students. According to Gaggle data, the number of districts partnering with Gaggle to monitor elementary students increased by 27% when comparing the time period from July 1 through October 14, 2020 to the same time period in 2019. Examining the same time period for elementary school data, the number of items reviewed by Gaggle increased by 469%.

Not only are mental health conditions rising across the board among K-12 students, they are growing among elementary school students. Districts are realizing the need to protect these students, especially given the increase in distance and hybrid learning as well as the number of school-issued devices.

How are you protecting your district’s elementary children? Contact your Gaggle representative today to discuss how Gaggle can help you enhance the safety and well-being of your students.

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