Anderson County Schools talks safety in the age of social media

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We are looking into the measures area schools take to help keep your children safe.

This coming on the heels of Monday’s news of two Cumberland County sixth graders charged with plotting a school shooting.

This at South Cumberland Elementary. A school resource officer looking into a rumor he had heard about a possible hitlist. But instead of finding a hitlist during an investigation, Cumberland County Sheriff Gary Howard says a plot was uncovered instead.

This story sparked concern among parents all across our region, so we sent WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel to another school system to find out what’s being done behind the scenes to keep your kids safe.

What your children are looking at, searching or talking about online is something Anderson County Schools keeps an eye on, every single day.

News of what happened in Cumberland County spread quickly Monday.

“That was terrifying. That hit a little too close to home for me,” said Anderson County mom Jennifer Hamby.

Hamby lives in Anderson County. She’s a mom to a three-year-old little girl. 

Her daughter is not yet in the county’s school system.

“We’ve got a couple years to still think about it, but I am really happy to know Anderson County is taking action,” she said. 

Hamby’s referring to the school system’s efforts to keep students safe online. 

Ryan Sutton with Anderson County Schools explaining of one of the tools they use, called Gaggle. 

“We have Gaggle on every single one of our chromebooks that we issue in our 1 to 1 projects grade 3 through 12. That monitors what the kids are looking at, what the kids are writing in their G suite, what they have in their google drives,” Sutton said. 

There’s two other main products they use, too.

Another one is a filter called Goguardian.

“It monitors what the students are looking at on the internet, what they’re typing, where they might go, and it actually filters the device not only at school but on their home internet as well. As well as we use a social media monitoring tool which allows us to key word out some things, like school names, shootings, suicide, and kind of geo-fence that area to potentially monitor what students might be talking about or what they might have seen or heard about or negative things that may be going on in the school, it searches that out and sends a report every single day,” he said.

The tools, he says, are big for potentially detecting a threat, before it happens. 

Sutton also adding it was important to him to commend Cumberland County on what they did to avert what he called a huge disaster. 

He also said they’ve also got a threat assessment team within each of their schools – made up of a school administrator, guidance counselor, faculty and staff. 

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