Gaggle Speaks

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

Written by Lisa Railton
on March 24, 2020

When it comes to harmful content, school leaders want to ensure they’re protecting students, but they also need to protect their liability. After implementing Gaggle for the 2018–19 school year, East Irondequoit Central School District in New York was able to do both.

A 1:1 district, students are allowed to take their district-issued devices home during the school year beginning in the third grade. After rolling out Microsoft Office 365 for those in grades 6–12, East Irondequoit CSD chose Gaggle to help protect its students in the online environment. When a child predator attempted to send pornographic content to an 11-year-old student, Gaggle helped keep her out of harm’s way.

The student safety platform intercepted the file in question to ensure that the student wouldn’t be exposed to the content. “That, to me, is the biggest benefit,” said Director of Communications Dave Yates. “Once a child receives a message like that, the damage is done. By not delivering the message and preventing the damage—that’s the invaluable part of it.” Gaggle not only stops inappropriate messages like this from ever reaching students, it also blocks the content from the district server, placing it into quarantine to ensure it won’t be in the system. “Gaggle is like a giant screen door that keeps the bugs out,” added Yates.

“The file was sent to our local police department so they could do their investigation,” said Executive Director of Technology Christine Osadciw. The district worked with the police on their investigation, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of a 36-year-old male in Michigan. “The system shows the exact date and time of the file coming in, which gives a firm timeline of events for their case as well,” noted Osadciw. “That was their proof. If we didn’t have that video, I don’t know if the predator would have been caught.”

During the 2018–19 school year, Gaggle flagged 5,211 instances of “Nudity & Sexual Content” across all school districts using the student safety platform. When underage children are involved, these situations are reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The content is blocked and quarantined, ensuring that students aren’t exposed and districts aren’t liable.

“In the process of that investigation, they discovered that this man had also contacted a youth in his own area,” said Yates. “The fact that this man was caught doing the same thing to another child adds another layer. We’ve now stopped him from affecting more children going forward.” Read the success story to learn more about how East Irondequoit CSD helped stop a child predator in his tracks.

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