Is Your School’s Blocked Words List Capable of Handling Controversial Events?

In order to help protect students and create teachable moments that promote digital citizenship, any educational tool that uses a blocked words list should be able to be updated at a moment’s notice.

A real-time, dynamic blocked words list allows people like Gaggle’s Student Safety Representatives to ensure that the mention of anything potentially harmful to students is immediately addressed. In fact, part of a Gaggle Student Safety Representatives job is to stay on top of trending language.

One example came from the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. A district administrator near Ferguson was concerned about students getting involved with the dangerous riots and protests taking place. He wanted to be proactive and monitor any student references to the situation.

The administrator called Gaggle and requested specific words be added to the district’s blocked word list. Words like “Ferguson” and “riot” were immediately included so that Gaggle’s Student Safety Representatives could see any mention of the words and take appropriate action, if necessary, by alerting the district to any concerning communications.

Fortunately, after reviewing over 1,000 filtered messages in a little over one week, no evidence of students getting involved in potentially dangerous situations was discovered. In speaking with a Gaggle representative during a follow-up call, the district administrator expressed his satisfaction with Gaggle Safety Management saying, “I can’t even begin to describe how grateful we are for this service and the work that you all do. It’s invaluable.”

Not only do phrases, acronyms and lingo students use to describe sex, drugs and violence constantly change, but schools should also keep in mind current events and make sure to regularly update their blocked words lists.

photo credit: a katz /