Predatory man in Michigan tried to send pornographic material to New York state preteen; safety platform thwarted his efforts and provided police with critical evidence for his conviction
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (March 4, 2020) – Student safety solution Gaggle was instrumental in the arrest and conviction of a child predator who targeted an 11-year-old student in New York state’s East Irondequoit Central School District.
A 1:1 district, East Irondequoit CSD has implemented Gaggle since the 2018–19 school year in order to help protect students as they use district-issued devices. In February 2019, the child predator attempted to send pornographic content to the sixth grader, but Gaggle intercepted the file so that the eleven-year-old student wasn’t exposed to the material.
“Once a child receives a message like that, the damage is done,” said Director of Communications Dave Yates. “Having Gaggle in place gives us an extra measure of protection from things we don’t know are going on and could never anticipate happening.” Gaggle also blocked the content from the district server, placing it into quarantine to ensure it wouldn’t be in the system.
The file was sent to the local police department, and the district worked with the police on a four-month investigation that resulted in the 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,” said Executive Director of Technology Christine Osadciw. “That was their proof. If we didn’t have that video, I don’t know if the predator would have been caught.”
“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.”
Gaggle is the pioneer in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided collaboration platforms. Using a powerful combination of technology and trained safety experts, Gaggle provides real-time analysis 24/7/365 of students’ email accounts and the content they are creating on their school’s digital tools; in particular, Google G Suite for Education and Microsoft Office 365.
During the 2018–19 school year, Gaggle intercepted 5,211 incidents of child pornography. Additionally, Gaggle blocked over 14,824 pornographic photos. When underage children are involved, these incidents are reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). And in all cases, the content is blocked and quarantined so students aren’t exposed.
“Because modern technology provides so many inroads into everyone’s lives, district leaders face an enormous challenge in keeping students safe,” said Gaggle founder and CEO Jeff Patterson. “Our mission is to help schools create safe learning environments. In this particular case, that meant blocking a child predator from reaching an innocent 11-year-old.”
About East Irondequoit Central School District
East Irondequoit consists of six schools; two primary (grades K–2), two intermediate (grades 3–5), one middle school (grades 6–8), and one high school. East Irondequoit has emerged as a leader in digital conversion, providing students with access to devices beginning in kindergarten. The district’s 1:1 initiative is aimed at providing students with personalized learning experiences that stimulate creativity and imagination as well as maximize learning opportunities. The goal is for students to experience, connect, and interact with the world in ways that traditional textbooks and curriculum alone can’t provide. Technology should be a daily tool for students (as it is in many jobs now) and not an “event” like going to the computer lab or rolling a laptop cart into the classroom. Gaggle helps protect the district’s students, but parents and guardians must be diligent to monitor their student’s online content when the 1:1 device is brought home.
Since 1999, Gaggle has been the leader in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. Using a powerful combination of artificial intelligence and trained safety experts, the safety solution proactively assists districts 24/7/365 in the prevention of student suicide, bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence, and other harmful situations. Most importantly, Gaggle continues to help hundreds of districts avoid tragedies and save lives, while also protecting their liability. In the 2018–19 academic year, Gaggle helped districts save the lives of more than 700 students who were planning or actually attempting suicide. For more information, visit www.gaggle.net and follow Gaggle on Twitter at @Gaggle_K12.