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Wausau School District
The Priceless Value of a Student’s Life

Challenge (Puzzle)

Challenge

Wausau School District is moving to a 1:1 environment that includes devices and access to student email and online file storage. Along with this digital transformation comes the need to ensure students are safe using district-provided technology and tools.

Solution (Wrench)

Solution

After piloting Gaggle Safety Management for G Suite, the district quickly realized that digital citizenship lessons were not a complete solution to the issue of students using Gmail and Google Drive inappropriately and decided to use Safety Management in all schools.

Results (Star)

Results

Wausau School District is now able to intervene whenever necessary on incidents that can have an adverse impact on students. We’re grateful to administrators for sharing a story on how a student’s life was saved with the help of Gaggle Safety Management.

Every minute, every second matters when it comes to the life of a student.

7:42 am A student sends an email to a friend, mentioning intentions of suicide.

7:43 am Gaggle Safety Management analyzes and reviews the content that clearly indicates the student is in imminent danger of self-harm.

7:48 am A Gaggle Safety Representative forwards the email to school district administrator and calls the emergency contact.

“Upon getting the call and reading the email, I contacted our administrator at the school where the student attends and asked that they check in the classroom,” recalled an emotional Dr. Jeff Lindell, Director of Pupil Services at Wausau School District. “We found the student in the bathroom, and if we were 20 seconds later, we’re pretty sure the student would have successfully committed suicide.” Twenty-four hours later, the student was released from medical care and is transitioning back to school.

Like many school districts, Wausau is moving towards a 1:1 model, providing students with devices and collaboration tools like G Suite for Education and Office 365. Along with creating a digital learning environment comes the ethical and legal responsibility to keep students safe. “Whenever you put a device in a student’s hand, you want to put some safety protocols in place,” said Dr. Lindell.

After completing a Gaggle Safety Management pilot program offered to school districts on a case-by-case basis, the district’s administrators didn’t need any convincing that they should move forward. “We recognize that without a product like Gaggle, we could have certainly lost a life that’s important to us,” said Dr. Lindell. “It more than pays for itself when you save a life that’s priceless.”

Wausau School District also recognizes an ongoing commitment to working with local law enforcement as another part of its student online safety efforts. On a few occasions, thanks to Gaggle notifications, the district has asked local police to do wellness checks at students’ homes. “We have a great relationship with our local police department,” said Dr. Lindell. “They know what Gaggle is all about, and that’s important.”

In addition to teaching lessons on digital citizenship and the value of leaving positive digital footprints, administrators at Wausau understand more than ever the need to occasionally intervene when incidents can have a long-lasting negative impact not just on one student, but an entire student body.

“When you’re moments away from losing one of your students—and anybody who has lived through losing a student, whether it be a suicide, a car accident or something along those lines—you know that if you can prevent the struggles that your entire student body goes through in a scenario like that, you’d do almost anything possible to avoid that situation.”