Safety Management in Action: How to Save a Life – A Story of a Suicide Prevented

On November 17, 2013, storms were slamming the Midwest and tornadoes were bearing down on many of our communities. In fact, the EF4 tornado that destroyed much of Washington, IL occurred a mere 32 miles northwest of Gaggle’s corporate office in Bloomington, IL. Throughout this day, just like every other, our Student Safety Representatives were on the job!

While reviewing blocked messages that evening, Angie, one of our Student Safety Representatives, found a Possible Student Situation (PSS) that was sent from outside the Gaggle community to one of our Gaggle students. It included the phrase “My mom no longer wants to be a part of my life, I am in hell, but I’m leaving tonight.”

Angie recognized this was a call for help, and even though the sender was not a Gaggle student, she did some research and was able to identify the non-Gaggle school of the student sender. Since she didn’t have contact information for anyone at this district, she immediately called the local police. Unfortunately, the police explained that there wasn’t anything they could do.

With an unyielding determination, Angie continued the search and was able to identify and reach out to the director of the sender’s school who indicated that the local police had indeed notified him. He also let Angie know that they had the dean of students and a psychologist meeting with the student that evening and had scheduled a follow-up appointment for the student with the psychologist for the next day.

For Gaggle, this kind of incident isn’t all that unusual. What’s impressive about this story is not just that Angie was able to locate and get help for a student in trouble outside of our Gaggle community, but that she did it entirely in the dark! That’s right. When Angie began her shift she had a fully charged battery on her laptop, a cell phone, and a wireless card. The storms from earlier in the day had caused a major power outage in our area. Kudos to Angie and all our Student Safety Representatives for their commitment and devotion to student safety!