Gaggle Speaks

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

Written by Candy Tai
on November 18, 2022

A 2021 report from the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) analyzed 67 disrupted plots against K-12 schools from 2006–2018. The Averting Targeted Schools Violence report reveals the need for greater awareness of and resources for student mental health within our schools. 

  • In 95% of cases, the plotters were current students of the targeted school or district. 
  • In 94% of cases, the plotters shared their intentions about carrying out an attack. 
  • In 69% of cases, communications made about the plot were observed by the plotter’s peers. 

In each analyzed case, tragedy was averted because a community member came forward with information about the plotter’s concerning behavior. The findings underscore the importance of early identification and intervention with mental health services. 

Safety solutions like Gaggle review what students are sharing in emails, files, and chats on their school-provided accounts, identifying keywords that indicate mental health concerns.  Gaggle’s trained Safety Team monitors concerning comments like a student planning an attack or threatening someone with physical harm, including mentions of weapons, bomb threats, or other explicit threats.

Pictured: a real flagged (and de-identified) image shared by a student

There is an immediate need to further safeguard K-12 schools for the well-being of students and teachers. That’s why Gaggle is the first and only safety solution for student learning platforms to offer weapon imagery detection. This feature is designed to search for and detect images of guns, ammunition, magazines, and other weapon-related paraphernalia on school-issued devices and online collaboration platforms.

This enhancement for Gaggle Safety Management was activated in July in anticipation of the 2022–23 academic year. The AI-powered weapon detection technology scans images inside an email, images as an attachment, images within a URL, screenshots of images, and video files. If any problematic weapon-related imagery or video footage is detected, it is then reviewed for context by a human moderator and trained Safety Team member. 

If you’d like to learn more about why school-based mass shootings occur and how to prevent them, watch our Student Wellness Series: School Violence webinar recording. Child psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman and Columbine High School resource officer Eric Ebling shared their insights on the psychology behind a school shooting, strategies to detect and prevent incidents, and the players that should be involved in student safety decisions.

Time is precious in crisis situations. Time is also precious for school and district staff. That’s why Gaggle pairs speedy artificial intelligence with trained human reviewers for accurate escalation. Gaggle Safety Management and its new gun detection feature can help reduce the risk of weapons coming to campus and incidents occurring. Learn more about integrating this solution into your school or district’s existing safety plan.

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