Your child school may actually be, what they call “surveilling”, your child’s email to discover what they are saying and possibly expressing what they are going to do.

Some might agree with what their ultimate goal is and be ok with this and others may not.

The Detroit News is reporting that there are 31 school districts in Michigan that are using what they a controversial surveillance service from an Illinois-based company named Gaggle.  Gaggle provides artificial intelligence software as well as their staff to students emails looking for keywords. 

The school district is only using this software on school-issued email addresses and systems, not on the student's personal non-school issued email address.  Also, the students and parents are informed that the school district will be using software to surveil these email addresses.  

The keywords are looking for are “bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence and other harmful situations inside students' communications”.   Last year alone they searched approximately 4 billion emails and school-based documents covering approximately 1,400 school districts around the country.

Gaggle’s spokesman Bill McCullough stated the companies believe they have prevented 722 suicides last year alone.  Mr. McCullough was quoted stating:

That number is probably much higher...This is when the school told us we saved a life that day. Kids put suicide notes online. They will share with friends 'I am going to kill myself today.

When they find these keywords Mr. McCullough said:

We see those and we notify the district immediately. They send someone to do a wellness check on a kid at home or in school...Many times they are in the middle of an attempt. We have stopped a suicide on school property.

Chad A. Marlow, a senior advocacy and policy counsel with American Civil Liberties Union said:

We have numerous concerns about the idea that school districts are monitoring the private conversations and thoughts of all of their students...Having adults intervene could actually drive them to self-harm. ... If they are taking credit for saving lives, they cannot make those claims. They cannot be scientifically backed up

Mr. Marlow then stated:

Having adults intervene could actually drive them to self-harm. ... If they are taking credit for saving lives, they cannot make those claims. They cannot be scientifically backed up

I certainly understand what they are attempting to stop and probably have in the past.  

The question the ACLU and others have concerns the act of our school districts spying on the student's emails.  Others who support this surveilling/spying point to the fact that the school does inform the students and parents that if they use a school-supplied email address this surveilling/spying software will be used to surveil the student's content of their emails.