GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — The Glendale Unified School District has hired a Hermosa Beach company to monitor public social media posts made by its students to find out when teens are in trouble or causing it.
Superintendent Richard Sheehan said Geo Listening is analyzing the posts of 13,000 students at eight Glendale middle and high schools.
The goal is to give school administrators critical information as soon as possible.
“The whole purpose is student safety,” said Sheehan. “Basically, it just monitors for keywords where if a student is considering harming themselves, harming someone else.”
He added, “We do monitor on and off campus, but we do pay attention during school hours. We do pay more attention to the school computers.”
Sheehan said during the pilot service last year, Geo Listening and the district were able to intervene with a suicidal student.
“The administrator was contacted at the school site. Then we made contact with the student, the student’s family and we got them the appropriate help,” he said.
Chris Frydrych, the CEO of Geo Listening said, “We have provided information to school districts, which has led to numerous successful interventions on behalf of students that intended self-harm, suicide, bullying, truancy, substance abuse, and vandalism. We monitor only public posts to social networks. We do not monitor privatized pages, SMS, MMS, email, phone calls, voicemails.”
Hoover High School student Elijah Augustine said he doesn’t mind the monitoring and neither does his mother.
“If there was a red flag, if he’s talking about stress at school or he can’t take it anymore, if I won’t be able to deal with it, I would want somebody to come in,” Felicia Johnson said.
The cost of the monitoring service is $40,500 a year.