While students are on vacation, attending sports camps or lounging by the pool, they still take missteps when using email, social networks and other digital media.
At Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools, one specific incident over the summer, which came to light through a student’s email, could have turned tragic. A crucial part of Safety Management for G Suite, Gaggle Safety Representatives identified an email and quickly went into action. As trained professionals with diverse backgrounds in education, law enforcement and other fields, there was no doubt that this email revealed the possibility of immediate self-harm.
Phil Bickelhaupt was first on the list of emergency contacts at Wisconsin Rapids. He also serves as the district’s Director of Technology. Within minutes of being contacted by Gaggle, Phil called the county’s Crisis Intervention Hotline. “That morning, when I arrived at work, I learned that the crisis had been averted and the police were able to get to the student in time.”
A few years prior to the incident, the district decided to give Gmail accounts to students starting in fifth grade, but quickly realized that the controls inside Gmail and G Suite for Education were not enough to ensure the safety of Wisconsin Rapids’ students. With Gaggle Safety Management for G Suite, controls, such as a Blocked Words List and an Anti-Pornography Scanner, are regularly updated.
What continues to stand out to Phil are the personal and caring interactions the district receives. “The personal touch that Gaggle provides is far-reaching and goes a long way especially when it’s a very sensitive concern,” he said. “It far outweighs the cost.”
Phil is also quick to point out that neither he nor his colleagues have the time to search through quarantined email for inappropriate messages. “We don’t have time or the staff,” he said. “So to have somebody do that, for our kids’ safety sake, it’s been big.”