Gaggle online monitoring tool stays active during summer months

In January, the school district announced it would be using the Gaggle Safety Management system to monitor students’ online activity on school accounts or devices whenever they are in use. Gaggle uses a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and trained safety experts to provide real-time analysis and alerts to schools of potentially concerning behavior or content.

Gaggle’s technology scans students’ accounts for harmful content and alerts school officials if students show signs of self-harm, depression, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, cyberbullying, credible threats of violence against others, or other harmful situations. With Gaggle, the district is better equipped to proactively identify students who are struggling, provide intervention and support where needed, and foster a safer school environment.

When school is not in session (including on nights and weekends and during school breaks), the monitoring of online BCSD school accounts by Gaggle continues. When a student situation is flagged as serious by Gaggle and occurs outside of regular school hours, alerts may also be sent to the Bethlehem Police Department so that a welfare check can be made, if needed.

Gaggle is one of multiple modes of filtering and monitoring in place to protect students and staff. Gaggle meets the district’s Acceptable Use Policy/Regulation and Internet Safety Policy/Regulation. It also meets the requirements of the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act and is NYS Ed Law 2-d compliant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Gaggle?

Gaggle is a recognized leader in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided online platforms. Gaggle offers parents and the school district the peace of mind that students are being protected — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Gaggle uses a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and trained safety experts to quickly review student online activity on district accounts and devices.

Why is Gaggle necessary?

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a federal law, requires schools to monitor their devices and network to limit students’ exposure to inappropriate, obscene, or harmful content online. BCSD has used monitoring software for several years as part of the district’s Acceptable Use and Internet Safety policies. Parents expect their children to be safe when using school-provided technology—and school districts need to make sure that happens. When evidence of violence, bullying or self-harm is flagged, the district will review and investigate.

What is monitored by Gaggle?

All online activity and digital communications including school email, Drive files, images and documents created, sent or received by the student while using their BCSD Chromebook and/or Google account are monitored. These cloud-based student accounts are monitored on all devices, not just district-owned devices.

What is NOT monitored by Gaggle?

Online activity and digital communications by students who are NOT using a BCSD Google account or a BCSD 1:1 Chromebook or other device.

Why do the police sometimes get involved?

During the school day, Gaggle alerts are received, reviewed, and addressed by school district personnel. After hours or during school breaks, serious alerts which may require timely intervention are sent by Gaggle to the Bethlehem Police Department which may respond to a student’s home if a welfare check is needed.

What is a “serious” alert?

The following topics are flagged and immediately reviewed by trained experts at Gaggle. If an incident involving any of these issues is classified as serious, the district or the Bethlehem Police Department will respond. These topics include:

  • Suicide

  • Self-Harm

  • Violence toward others

  • Sexual content/nudity

  • Drugs & alcohol

  • Harassment