Gaggle (opens in new tab) is marking two decades of partnering with schools to protect students. Over the past 20 years, Gaggle has scanned more than 13 billion pieces of student content, flagging over 151 million items for review by its team of safety experts who look for signs of self-harm, depression, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, cyberbullying and credible threats of violence against others.
In 1999, Gaggle founder and CEO Jeff Patterson was seeking a solution to manage student safety issues, including classroom misbehavior, physical bullying, fighting and drugs at schools across the nation. He began the company as a student email provider, but as trends in harmful student behavior like self-harm, violence towards others, cyberbullying, and nudity and sexual content grew exponentially, he expanded the offering to include products that help schools create safe learning environments. Over the next 20 years, Patterson built a company based on three ideas: prevent tragedies with real-time content analysis; proactively identify and support students who are personally struggling; and create a safer school environment by building a platform for improved digital citizenship.
The Gaggle solution analyzes and reviews the use of online collaboration platforms, such as Google’s G Suite for Education, Microsoft Office 365 and the Canvas learning management system, for nearly 5 million students across the United States.
In a 2019 report (opens in new tab) on school safety, Gaggle revealed that in the first six months of the 2018-19 academic year, it observed more than 56,000 identified safety issues. Of these, more than 5,100 incidents were deemed serious enough to warrant immediate action by school officials to keep students safe. Of the more than 2,400 instances that Gaggle identified as possible critical situations regarding suicide or self-harm, more than 600 were later revealed to be serious threats in which school officials were able to intervene in time and immediately save lives.