Located in Keene, Texas, Keene Independent School District serves 1,101 students across four campuses. To keep students safe in their online environment, the district uses Gaggle Safety Management for G Suite in conjunction with a web filter. With these powerful solutions, the district is able to block potentially harmful content from students’ school-issued accounts. When incidents arise, Gaggle’s in-house team of trained safety experts determine the severity and work with the district to ensure students are protected.
In Texas, Education Service Centers (ESCs) provide services to school districts throughout the state. One of the main functions of these regional centers is to enable school districts to operate more efficiently by providing information about students. These centers rely on grants and contracts for funding, and state-provided support must be used in a way that improves student and school district performance.
A Student at Risk
One Friday evening in December 2019, Principal Chris Taylor of Keene High School was contacted at home by his regional ESC and informed that the center would be down for the evening. “I was concerned,” said Taylor, “since this meant there would be no way to get any information about students or the district during that time period.”
Shortly after, he received an alert from Gaggle about a student who was believed to be at risk of suicide. “When I read it, I could tell it was a legitimate suicide note written to the parents,” said Taylor. “The note clearly stated, ‘When you read this, I will be dead.’” But with the regional ESC’s system down for the night, Taylor knew they would be unable to quickly access the parents’ phone numbers.
Taylor immediately sprang into action, contacting the assistant principal and chief of police. All three raced to the school, where they kept a binder with contact information for all parents in the district. “I was truly racing to get there as quickly as possible,” said Taylor. “I knew we needed that number.” All three arrived at the school at the same time and headed straight to the office to retrieve the binder.
Taylor called the two numbers listed in the binder, but was unable to reach either of the student’s parents. Thankfully, the mother immediately returned his call and rushed to find her daughter in their home. She walked in just in time to see her daughter about to ingest a bottle of pills, stopping the suicide attempt right in the moment. The student was then taken to the hospital to receive the support she needed and is doing much better today.
A Life Saved
“I absolutely believe that without Gaggle, this student would have gone through with the act and taken her own life,” said Taylor. “There was no way of knowing,” he continued. “Her mother had no idea how much she was struggling.” Because Keene ISD had Gaggle’s student safety solution in place to watch over students’ activity in the digital environment, Taylor—and the district—were able to act in time and prevent a tragedy.
Gaggle’s safety experts only reach out to the district-appointed emergency contacts in severe situations, including after standard business hours. These professionals work 24/7/365 to evaluate incidents, contacting law enforcement to intervene in the most imminent cases. “We are extremely happy to have Gaggle in place in our district,” said Taylor. “We don’t receive false positives—only alerts that need addressing.”