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Boise School District adopts services to detect online interactions with content planning suicide

GoGuardian notifies parents and support staff in schools if the program detects a child is interacting with content online related to actively planning suicide.
Credit: KTVB
Boise School District

BOISE, Idaho — In an email sent to parents and guardians Wednesday morning, the Boise School District announced it has adopted GoGuardian Beacon services to enhance the district's suicide prevention program. 

According to the Boise School District (BSD), GoGuardian Beacon will notify parents, counselors and other support staff in its schools if the program detects a child is interacting with content online related to actively planning suicide beginning Feb. 16.

The services detect the interaction if a child searches, creates, views or interacts with the online content only on school-issued Chromebooks.

Notifications will come to parents automatically outside of school hours via email, BSD said. The email associated with a child in BSD's student records system - Infinite Campus - is where guardians will receive those notifications. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 8.9% of high school students in the U.S. in 2019 reported making a suicide attempt within a year.

Boise School District parents use the GoGuardian App to check their student's activity that prompted the notification. BSD asks parents and guardians to confirm their email address is correct on file for GoGuardian Beacon and other communication to home. 

"Parents/guardians continue to play a vital role in each child's support network," BSD said. "Boise School District's Counseling Services provide consultation, referral, and crisis support services."

The district said GoGuardian and BSD cannot possibly detect every situation when a child may be suicidal and BSD will not monitor GoGuardian outside of school hours, on weekends or on holidays. During those times, notifications are sent directly to parents. 

"To help your child remain scholarly and safe online, GoGuardian collects certain personally identifiable information about your child," BSD said. "GoGuardian has consulted with privacy experts, participates in privacy organizations, is a proud signatory of the Student Privacy Pledge, and has been awarded certifications by iKeepSafe for complying with both the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and California student privacy laws (which have served as a model for many other states' student privacy laws)."

BSD reminds those involved with the district to contact school counselors for more information on consultation. Individuals can also use the resources available below:

Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline: (208) 398-HELP, https://www.idahosuicideprevention.org/chat; or https://www.idahosuicideprevention.org/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or text 'TALK' to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line. 

The Trevor Project Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ young people: 1-866-488-7386

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