Located in northern California, the small rural community of Kelseyville has just over 3,300 residents. Serving over 1,700 students across seven schools, Kelseyville Unified School District (KVUSD) provides a variety of educational options to offer students of all ages access to the kind of education that will help them be successful.
KVUSD uses Gaggle’s student safety platform to ensure that students—and the organization as a whole—are safeguarded in their Google environment. “It helps me to keep everything on the up and up,” said Superintendent Dave McQueen. “I can truthfully say that I know what’s being transmitted within our organizational structure.”
McQueen stated that keeping his system safe was a priority, along with ensuring students were protected in the digital environment. “I have this communications network that everyone is on, and I need to know they aren’t doing anything inappropriate on that system,” he said. “Gaggle allows me to know that my system is being monitored so that I don’t have liability when it comes to pornographic content or safety concerns for students who write about suicide. All I want is to take care of my organization, and Gaggle helps me do that. I appreciate the fact that Gaggle filters out the content that can cause harm.”
“What Gaggle does makes my job easier,” continued McQueen. “I’m not having to monitor everybody’s accounts—Gaggle is taking care of that and I just receive alerts when something requires my attention.” With its powerful combination of artificial intelligence and trained safety experts, Gaggle provides real-time analysis and review of students’ use of the district’s Google environment. That level of attention is key for small districts like KVUSD, where designating a staff member to monitor accounts isn’t an option. “Some other services are way too labor-intensive,” said McQueen. “You need an administrator to go through everything, and they’re already busy. It takes time. It’s nonstop. To have only the alerts that genuinely need attention come directly to you is just way better.”
Addressing Student Safety Concerns
According to McQueen, KVUSD sees a large number of students writing about hurting themselves or being bummed about life. In one instance, a student wrote a particularly macabre assignment that raised flags in the safety platform. Believing that she may hurt herself, Gaggle quickly alerted the district. “Because we were alerted, we were immediately able to reach out and get her some help,” said McQueen.
In another troubling incident, a student emailed a teacher after hearing another student discuss bringing a gun to school. Because the email referenced a plan to “shoot up the school,” McQueen was alerted by Gaggle and took quick action before the situation escalated. Following the district’s protocols, he notified law enforcement and was able to intervene with the student in question, who clarified his statements and was dealt with accordingly. “What’s great about Gaggle is that I don’t have to go looking for these situations,” said McQueen. “It’s good to know that I have this resource to help me deal with situations like this immediately. I’m getting the alerts and each one clearly shows the level of severity, so I know right away if something is really bad.”
When it comes to other matters concerning student safety, KVUSD has found the Gaggle platform particularly helpful for incidents involving bullying and fighting. “I really feel like we’re able to handle these situations before they get out of control,” said McQueen. “The greatest asset is the fact that we are able to keep on top of things that are happening—things that we don’t necessarily see. I feel like I’m more aware of what students are doing, and it’s really nice to have that awareness.”
Effective Student Safety
A Gaggle partner for several years, McQueen is a true believer in the solution. “In my 30 years in education and 12 years as a superintendent, I’ve been pitched many products,” he said. “People want me to buy this and that, but it falls on deaf ears after a while. Gaggle is one product that I truly believe in—and it works.”
“Gaggle is worth having because it’s been so effective at helping students,” continued McQueen. “We’ve been able to help multiple students, intervening with situations like suicides and fights—it’s really been beneficial. Even if it had only helped one student, it would still be worth it.”