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Watchung Hills Regional High School Watchung Hills Regional High School


Gaggle FAQs

FAQs Related to Gaggle Implementation
1. Is district monitoring of digital student accounts new?
No.  Previously, all student Google accounts have been monitored/filtered as indicated in BOE Policy 2361, our Parent/Student Technology Agreement and our 1:1 Acceptable Use Agreement.  This document is signed by both parents/guardians and students via Genesis Parent/Student Portals. 
For the past five years, we have utilized GoGuardian, which allows the teacher to monitor the students’ Chromebook during school hours to ensure the student stays on task and to provide direct help to the student as they work in real-time. In addition, at all times GoGuardian also serves as a web filter to prevent inappropriate content from being accessed as well as providing alerts for potential student safety issues. All WHRHS Google account usage and communication is viewable in the Google Admin Console and is retained in Google Vault for audit purposes.
2. Why is such monitoring necessary?
As per BOE Policy 2361 and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act, our district is required to develop and implement Internet safety protection procedures to address the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications. When it comes to school safety, students, teachers, administrators and parents must work together as part of a comprehensive district-wide security plan. 

WHRHS is committed to district initiatives to educate and support students’ social emotional wellness, healthy ways to cope with intense emotions, and handle the ups and downs of everyday life. In addition to the proactive and professional services delivered from teaching staff and counselors, resources such as Gaggle are necessary to identify students in acute distress and in need of emergency intervention to address suicidal ideation or thoughts to harm others. Identifying students in the midst of a crisis can make all the difference in saving lives and supporting students with the emergency resources needed. 

3. What is monitored by Gaggle?
Any cloud based Google Workplace communications and documents are monitored, including, school email, chat, and documents created, sent or received by the student using their WHRHS Google account. 
4. What is not monitored by Gaggle?
Any form of digital communication not using a WHRHS Google account or WHRHS 1:1 Chromebook including, but not limited to: internet usage and web browsing, cellular phone calls, text messages, social media posts, personal email accounts not tied to the district account.
5. Does Gaggle censor words, student work and searches?
No. Gaggle has a list of keywords that it flags in order to determine if the words are being used by one student to target another student in an inappropriate, harassing or bullying manner. If these words are being used in student narrative writing, research, or some other educationally appropriate way, then no further investigation is conducted nor is any action taken.
6. What is done with the data collected?
Data collected by Gaggle focuses on WHRHS email, chat, and documents and does not collect sensitive information. No data is shared with third parties and any personally identifiable information collected is available only to the school district to help intervene and provide student assistance and ensure student safety.

7. How are we ensuring compliance with student privacy laws?
Gaggle is both Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant. FERPA is a federal law focusing on the protection of the privacy of personally identifiable information in students' education records. COPPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of children under 13 years old. Both laws protect a student’s privacy in terms of educational records including information, such as a student's name or identification number, which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, either directly or indirectly through linkages with other information.