Press Releases & Media Coverage

Gaggle Student Safety Report: 49 out of Every 10,000 Students Used Online School Accounts to Divulge Suicidal or Self-Harm Urges in Six-Month Period

New national report shares Gaggle’s compelling findings about the frequency of dangerous student behaviors and the new ways in which they cry for help

K-12 leaders will be surprised to learn how many of their students, including those in elementary school, are acting in ways that pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. According to Gaggle’s new national student safety report, “The State of Student Safety Through a Gaggle Lens,” evidence of an alarming number of harmful behaviors is left in students’ online activity. The report shows the frequency of these behaviors and highlights some of the key trends, so K-12 leaders can be aware of the threats and take steps to address them.

“Teachers and administrators might not see warning signs during physical interactions with students, but for every 10,000 students in a six-month period, a district can expect Gaggle to identify 49 students indicating suicide or self-harm and 29 students planning violence against others,” said Gaggle CEO, Jeff Patterson.

During the first six months of the 2018–2019 academic year alone:

  • Five out of every 10,000 students threatened that they — or someone they knew — were planning a suicidal act or were engaging in self harm.
  • Four out of every 10,000 students shared child pornographic content on their school account involving themselves or peers.
  • One out of every 10,000 students planned a specific threat of violence toward others or their school.

These figures come from Gaggle’s student safety management solution, which uses a combination of machine learning algorithms and human safety experts to review students’ use of online tools. The solution analyzes and reviews the use of online tools within Google’s G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and the Canvas learning management system for nearly five million students across the United States. The solution alerts school officials when students show signs of self harm, depression, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, cyberbullying, and credible threats of violence against other students.

While potentially harmful behavior can be revealed in many ways, one trend that has emerged is students’ use of Microsoft or Google documents for journaling. Students write in those documents about emotions and experiences such as suicidal thoughts or a history of being bullied or sexually assaulted. Students are also revealing troubling secrets to their friends using a school email account or a collaborative Google Doc.

“Experiencing a school shooting or student suicide is every school leader’s worst nightmare. In the first six months of this school year, Gaggle has alerted us to 148 threats of violence among our 14,100 students, and five students planning self-harm. We’re grateful that we were tipped off to these threats and could act immediately to prevent a tragedy,” said Michael S. Kuhrt, superintendent of schools for Wichita Falls ISD in Texas.

The “The State of Student Safety Through a Gaggle Lens” report is available at https://www.gaggle.net/wp-content/uploads/ThroughTheGaggleLens-interactive.pdf.

About Gaggle
Headquartered in Bloomington, Ill., Gaggle has been providing school safety management products and solutions to the K-12 market since 1999. Using both artificial intelligence and trained safety experts, Gaggle’s early-warning system proactively assists districts 24/7/365 in the prevention of bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence, and other harmful situations. Gaggle has helped hundreds of districts avoid tragedies and save lives, while also protecting their liability. In the 2017-18 academic year alone, Gaggle saved the lives of 542 students who were planning or actually attempting suicide.