All posts by Bruce Becker

Gaggle Student Safety Report: 49 out of Every 10,000 Students Used Online School Accounts to Divulge Suicidal or Self-Harm Urges in Six-Month Period

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.March 6, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- K-12 leaders will be surprised to learn how many of their students, including those in elementary school, are acting in ways that pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. According to Gaggle's new national student safety report, "The State of Student Safety Through a Gaggle Lens," evidence of an alarming number of harmful behaviors is left in students' online activity. The report shows the frequency of these behaviors and highlights some of the key trends, so K-12 leaders can be aware of the threats and take steps to address them.

"Teachers and administrators might not see warning signs during physical interactions with students, but for every 10,000 students in a six-month period, a district can expect Gaggle to identify 49 students indicating suicide or self-harm and 29 students planning violence against others," said Gaggle CEO, Jeff Patterson.

During the first six months of the 2018–2019 academic year alone:

  • Five out of every 10,000 students threatened that they — or someone they knew — were planning a suicidal act or were engaging in self harm.
  • Four out of every 10,000 students shared child pornographic content on their school account involving themselves or peers.
  • One out of every 10,000 students planned a specific threat of violence toward others or their school.

These figures come from Gaggle's student safety management solution, which uses a combination of machine learning algorithms and human safety experts to review students' use of online tools. The solution analyzes and reviews the use of online tools within Google's G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and the Canvas learning management system for nearly five million students across the United States. The solution alerts school officials when students show signs of self harm, depression, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, cyberbullying, and credible threats of violence against other students.

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Former NJ Teacher Admits Student Sex Abuse

ELIZABETH — A former middle school teacher has admitted to repeatedly sexually assaulting two students over a decade.

Robert Goodlin, 76, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of second-degree sexual assault on the underage victims.

The plea deal comes five months after a jury in a Union County civil case was ordered to pay $1.15 million to one of the former students, now an adult, who sued him. In 2017, the school district settled a lawsuit with one of the Goodlin's victims for $600,000.

The first student was assaulted from 1993 to 1998 when Goodlin was an industrial technology teacher at Joseph Battin School 4 on South Broad Street. The assaults took place at the student's home, Goodlin's car and at Goodlin's cabin.

The second student was abused from 2002 to 2003 in various locations in the city.

Goodlin was arrested in 2017 and has been on house arrest ever since. He will be sentenced on April 5 in Superior Court in Elizabeth.


NM community remembers 11-year-old who died from suicide after being bullied

GRANTS, N.M.- People in Grants came together Wednesday night to remember an 11-year-old girl who took her own life.

Delia Watson complained of bullying at Mt. Taylor Elementary School and on social media before she died.

Her best friend, Malaya Martinez who planned Wednesday night's vigil, said Delia was tormented.

"Surprisingly my friend held her head up high and always carried a beautiful smile," Malaya said. "She had the biggest heart and always found the good in everybody, even the girls and boys who would bully her."

Delia's family and friends believe the suicide was preventable. Malaya said Delia reported the bullying to school officials.

"Me and Delia reached out to many staff members of our school many different times about the bullying but Delia's voice was never heard," Malaya said.

Delia's family is now calling on leadership at the school to do a better job of educating parents and students about bullying.

School officials would not answer specific questions about the case, referring KOB 4 to a statement sent to parents.

However, police are investigating social media messages that were sent to Delia.

In the meantime, Malaya said she will speak up for her best friend and will continue talking until someone listens.

"I'm Delia's voice and I'm reaching out to the community for help," Malaya said. "Big, small, tall, has no hair, has hair, has a lot of hair, doesn't matter, they are still human beings. It's not right!"

Delia's family is holding another community vigil Saturday at Fire and Ice (next to the post office in Grants). It will start at 6 p.m. The community is invited to attend.

The family has also set up a Gofundme account. Click here to donate. 

Statement from the Grants-Cibola County Schools:

February 4, 2019

The Grants-Cibola County Schools is sad to report that is has confirmed the unexpected death of one of its students. The student was an 11 year old student at Mt. Taylor Elementary who died unexpectedly on Friday, February 1, 2019. Out of respect to the family, the name and cause of death will not be released. We are heartbroken over the death of one of our students. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the family and friends as well as the entire community.

School counselors and community health representatives are available to any student or staff member who wishes to talk about the student’s death. The District will be offering grief counseling for students and staff as needed. The School Districts primary focus of resources is on the welfare of its’ school community and its students. Please note that no TV cameras or reporters will be allowed in the schools or on school grounds. We want our community to be aware of the supportive measures available and to encourage anyone having difficulty to seek support.


Former teacher gets 3 years for having sex with 14-year-old student

A former Florida middle school teacher was sentenced Wednesday to time in jail as well as community service for having sex with a 14-year-old student.

A Volusia County judge sentenced Stephanie Peterson to three years in prison and two years of community service.

Prior to learning her fate, Peterson read a statement to the court. She explained how she tried to use an earring to kill herself when she was arrested in February.

“Every day I wake up and ask, ‘What have I done?’ Every day I pray I will be forgiven,” Peterson said.

Peterson said she's battled with bipolar disorder and depression. She went on to apologize to the 14-year-old student and called it the worst mistake of her entire life.

According to deputies, the eighth-grade New Smyrna Beach Middle School student told detectives that Peterson would send him nude photos, and would go to his home at night, picking him up at about 11 p.m. and bringing him back hours later, the release said.

Detectives said the teen told them that Peterson asked him not to tell anyone about their relationship or they would get into trouble. The teen also said Peterson bought him marijuana and bowls for smoking it. He said that his grades suffered after the relationship started.

After the sentencing, the victim’s mother called Peterson a predator who took advantage of her son. The boy's mother said her son is teased by other students about what happened. He lost many of his friends and isolated himself from others.

She says the anger and fear he feels from being around the school kept him from going to his stepsister's dance recital there two weeks ago.

“Moments where he hated himself and what happened to him to the point where it gets overwhelming he turned to self-destruction,” said the mother, who is not being identified to protect the victim. “How is any 14-year-old supposed to emotionally handle that?”

Peterson will have to register as a sex offender. The judge is still allowing her to be around her niece and nephew.


Tipster thwarts school gunman, 14, who commits suicide after firefight with police

After a tipster reported a "potential violent act" that might occur at an Indiana middle school, officers confronted a 14-year-old gunman, who killed himself but didn't harm any others, according to police.

"That likely prevented a lot of lost lives," Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said of the tipster.

There's "no doubt in my mind... we'd be having a much different conversation" if that call wasn't made, Carter stressed at a news conference.

When the tipster called police around 8 a.m. Thursday to report potential violence at Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond, the school was locked down and officers were sent to the scene, the Indiana State Police said.

After officers confronted the teen outside the school, the gunman "reportedly shot out the glass of a locked entry door" and ran inside the building, police said.

The teen, who was not a student at the school but lived in the area, exchanged gunfire with the officers as they followed him, police said.

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Student slashing at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside caused 2 1/2 hour lockdown

The search continues for the suspect who slashed a student at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside on Tuesday morning — and caused a 2 1/2 hour lockdown of the campus that alarmed students, parents and staff alike.

On Dec. 11 at around 9 a.m., police sources reported, an unidentified 14-year-old student was sliced in the head with an “unknown sharp weapon” at the high school located at 57-00 223rd St.

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Teen turned in by grandmother pleads guilty to planning school shooting

The Washington state teen who garnered national headlines after being turned in by his own grandmother over plans to commit a mass school shooting pleaded guilty to the charges on Thursday.

Joshua O’Connor pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was arrested in February, but submitted a new plea Thursday after coming to an agreement over the charges, according to Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.

He has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 14, the same day as the Parkland school massacre, held on $5 million bond.

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California: 32,000 kids return to class on Monday after wildfires hit schools

Just before the Camp fire came upon Paradise, Jori Krulder, an English teacher, was at the town’s high school.

She spent the morning of 8 November in her classroom at Paradise high – and it was there Krulder and her students first saw the ash and leaves raining down.

And it was from the school that they fled.

The Camp fire, which grew to 250 sq miles before it was fully contained this week, destroyed nearly 14,000 homes – including Krulder’s – and damaged or destroyed most schools in Paradise.

Some, like Paradise elementary, were completely destroyed. Others incurred so much damage they may have to be rebuilt entirely.

About 32,000 children have been out of school because of air quality and displacement, including 5,000 from Paradise, Magalia and Concow, the foothill communities affected by the fire.

For Krulder, the days since the fire spent out of school have been challenging. She’s stayed in a stranger’s house with her family, and longed to return to the classroom where she taught for 16 years.

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Boy shot dead at high school after bullying conflict ‘escalated out of control’: Official

A boy was shot dead at a North Carolina high school Monday morning -- allegedly by a classmate -- after a bullying conflict "escalated out of control," officials said.

The shooting at Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina, about 12 miles outside of Charlotte, was "an isolated incident," the Matthews Police Department said.

One student, a 16-year-old boy in the ninth-grade, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, police said.

The slain student was identified as tenth-grader Bobby Mckeithen, 16, police said.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said he is "heartbroken to hear that we have lost a student to school violence."

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2 girls plotted to stab classmates to death and drink their blood, cops say

BARTOW, Fla. -- Two middle-school girls -- ages 11 and 12 -- brought knives to their Florida school in a foiled plot to kill classmates, cut them up and drink their blood before killing themselves, police officials said Wednesday. "They told us they were Satan worshipers," Bartow Police Chief Joe Hall said, CBS affiliate WKMG reported.

The girls planned to stake out a bathroom at Bartow Middle School and wait for smaller students to enter, according to a police affidavit. They planned to cut their victims' throats, cut up their bodies and eat the flesh, authorities said. The students then planned to fatally stab themselves.

"The plan was to kill at least 1 student but were hoping to kill anywhere from 15-25 students," the affidavit said. "Killing all of these students was in hopes it would make them worse sinners ensuring that after they committed suicide ... (they) would go to hell so they could be with satan."

Detectives said the girls devised the plot while watching "scary" movies at one of their houses over the weekend. Detectives said the girls posted information about the planned attack on social media. Messages on their cellphones also stated they wanted to leave body parts at the school's entrance, WKMB reported.

The alleged plot was foiled when administrators searched for them after they didn't show up for class Tuesday. The administrators found them in a bathroom stall and brought them back to their offices where they found the girls in possession of four knives, a pizza cutter and a knife sharpener, police said.

After their arrest, the girls were sent to a juvenile detention facility.

"School staff quickly responded to a report of suspicious behavior; the students were taken into custody, and no one was harmed," school officials said in a tweet.

The girls face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and possession of a weapon at school, among other charges. It will be up to prosecutors to decide whether the girls will be charged formally as juveniles or adults, Deputy Police Chief Bryan Dorman said in an email.

Officials with Polk County Schools said that extra police officers and guidance counselors would be at the school this week.