VICE News Documentary Tackles Controversy of Student Safety Versus Student Privacy

Documentary shows how Gaggle prevents suicide, violence, bullying and harassment, but does it have a negative impact on LGBTQ students?

A new in-depth documentary on student monitoring software from VICE News highlights how Gaggle helps K-12 districts manage student safety and plays a significant role in saving student lives and keeping our nation’s schools safe.

A representative of The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) views this as an invasion of privacy. From his perspective, all the “surveillance” of kids “isn’t worth it” even if it means saving one child’s life.

View the full documentary here.

“This is a powerful and intimate example of how our technology is designed to save student lives,” said Jeff Patterson, CEO and Founder of Gaggle. “The VICE News team saw first-hand how the technology works, and more importantly, how our human Safety Team reviewers play such an important role in protecting our children from self-harm, harassment, bullying, and violence. Saving even one student life means a parent gets to hug their child another day and that’s what drives our mission.”

An example of this was portrayed in the documentary as it tells the deeply personal story of a female high school student who was contemplating taking her own life two years ago. She had written about her suicidal thoughts on a school-issued device and Gaggle flagged it to school officials. They were able to quickly step in to provide support and ultimately save the girl’s life.

The VICE News reporter asks the student, “If you hadn’t had that message intercepted, do you think your parents ever would have known what was going on?” The teenager responds, “Nope. Honestly, no.”

When pressed by VICE News, “Is there a chance no one ever would have known what you were really feeling?” The young girl says, “No adult would. No adult that could have helped me would.”

The girl’s mother added: “It was shocking to learn what was going on in her head. It was very frustrating. It was heartbreaking. I probably would have realized too late. It’s something that no parent ever wants to experience. I think we must always try to find a way to prevent that.”

The documentary also featured Jill Lemond, the former assistant superintendent for security and school operations at Oxford Community Schools where a school shooting tragedy took place on November 30, 2021.

“In tragic situations, especially mass tragedies, they are often followed by a wave of suicide,” stated Lemond. “We are not willing to accept that reality here, and so we have been on an anti-suicide campaign. I would say Gaggle is probably the most important of those anti-suicide measures that we have in place.”

“Our community wants to know that all eyes are on their kids and that every adult is trying to keep them safe. We do have to be careful, and we do have to be hypervigilant, and we know that as we watch mass shootings across the nation,” continued Lemond. “I would rather over analyze than under analyze student behavior right now. If we save even one student, it’s worth all the time and energy we’re putting into it.”

For more information visit gaggle.net.

Since 1999, Gaggle has been the leader in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. Using a powerful combination of artificial intelligence and trained safety experts, the safety solution proactively assists districts 24/7/365 in the prevention of student suicide, bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence, and other harmful situations. Most importantly, Gaggle continues to help hundreds of districts avoid tragedies and save lives. During the 2021-2022 academic year, Gaggle helped districts save the lives of 1,562 students who were planning or actively attempting suicide. For more information, visit Gaggle.net.

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