Tech software Gaggle finds possible pornographic item on Chesterfield Schools device

Technology program helps schools detect red flags to keep students safe

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield police is investigating a possibly pornographic item that may be on a device at Providence Middle School.

Police did not provide details, but describe the image as inappropriate.

It was found by the county’s technology tool Gaggle.

Last year Chesterfield County Public Schools implemented Gaggle to keep students safe while they are using school issued Chromebooks, which connect to Google Drives. Gaggle is a scanning program that reviews students Google files for inappropriate images or content identified by keywords that might signal concern.

According to CCPS, Google files are reviewed throughout the day by representatives with Gaggle. If necessary, alerts are sent to the school system for investigation and/or response. In some cases, law enforcement will be called in to assist.

Our work to create safe, supportive and nurturing learning environments is an ongoing partnership with students and parents. The work includes building trusting relationships, sharing concerns and monitoring student behaviors at home, in school and online. As part of our efforts to maintain a safe, secure online experience for students, we have implemented a technology tool known as Gaggle. This scanning program reviews student Google files for inappropriate images and/or content identified by keywords that might signal concern. Google files are reviewed throughout the day by Gaggle representatives, and alerts are sent to the school division for investigation and response.
Chesterfield County Public Schools

Bill McCullough, VP of Sales for Gaggle, describes it as an an early warning detection system.

“We look at all the communication kids are doing in Google and Microsoft, and look for kids in crisis, whether that is cyber bullying, drugs and alcohol harassment, suicidal thoughts, child pornography," McCullough said.

Gaggle is a live service that has 24/7 staffing. The company combines safety experts and machine learning to identify concerning content.

“Depending on the severity, we will either warn the student directly, we will email an administrator or we will call at any point and time 24/7/365," he said.

McCullough says there are times they will call emergency contacts to intervene, but there is a system in place to communicate with students and schools.

As technology and education continue on a path together, McCullough says programs like Gaggle will continue to be necessary to keep the focus on learning and keep students safe.

“By them spending the money to use Gaggle and spending the time it takes to get this running, their kids are more protected and they should be proud of what their school is doing," he said.

What is Gaggle and how does it work?

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