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Director of Secondary Education Beth Taylor announces the partnership with Gaggle at Monday’s District 50 school board meeting.

Internet access offers students a vast array of information, but Greenwood County School District 50 is implementing safety measures to coincide with computer usage.

An estimated 80 million teachers and students are signed up for “G-Suite for Education” accounts, according to a National Review article, giving students access to Google applications and tools typically used for educational purposes.

District 50 intends to monitor K-12 students’ email accounts, Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Hangouts – applications included in G-Suite for education – by using Gaggle.

Gaggle is a 24/7 safety management system that uses artificial intelligence and trained safety experts to provide real-time analysis and monitor students’ use of G-Suite for education tools.

“Google is a powerful learning tool, and that’s what we use in the district, but we have to consider safety in every decision that we make,” said District 50 Director of Secondary Education Beth Taylor.

Gaggle will explicitly monitor for drug and alcohol use, violence, sexual content, self-harm, hate speech and pornography.

“Our district realizes that Google and Microsoft are powerful learning tools, but safety must be considered with all of these tools,” Superintendent Steve Glenn said in a press release. “Our partnership with Gaggle will assist in protecting our students, avoiding tragedies and potentially saving lives. Our number one priority is to help schools in our district create safe learning environments that will positively impact students.”

A level system will be put in place to discipline students who violate the district’s internet safety policy.

If Gaggle detects a student is searching profanity, provocative imagery or insulting language then that student will receive a warning, and school and district personnel will be notified once the student receives their third warning.

Mentioning drugs, alcohol, bullying or other questionable content will be considered level two and school and district personnel will be emailed immediately once Gaggle identifies it.

Level three is enacted when a student exhibits online behavior that could result in immediate harm to themselves or others, and Gaggle will place phone calls until school personnel or law enforcement is reached. Parents will be contacted if their child demonstrates level three type behavior.

Gaggle is scheduled to launch sometime in December, and high school students will be permitted to communicate with colleges and other contacts outside of the Greenwood District 50 network on Dec. 2 despite Gaggle’s integration.