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Messages, posted anonymously via the app, are hurtful and unnecessary, administrators say

anonymous-appAn anonymous message board app that students in some districts are using to tease teachers and fellow students has parents and educators alarmed, not only because of how it is being used, but because the app, Gaggle–Local Message Board, shares a name with Gaggle.Net, a popular safe online teaching and learning solution.

District leaders are urging schools to block the app and are asking parents to be on the lookout for it, due to the negative way students are using it.

Student use of the app at one high school in the Katy Independent School District prompted the school’s principal to block it from the school’s network and send an eMail to parents to alert them to the situation, according to one local news outlet.

(Next page: Confusion over the Gaggle app)

The principal noted that the posts he saw on the message board “have sickened and saddened me,” reports.

In addition to the concerns shared by parents and educators, the app’s name may cause people to confuse it with Gaggle.Net, a safe online learning solution, said Gaggle.Net representatives, who are working to ensure that customers and those in the education space know that the company is not associated with, and does not approve of, the Gaggle message board tool.

“I’m appalled and disgusted at the blatant hijack of the Gaggle brand, which we have worked so hard to build over the past 15 years. Regardless of the clear infringement on our brand and registered trademark, the people hurt the most are the students across the country who have been introduced to the local message board app,” Jeff Patterson, Gaggle.Net’s founder and CEO.

“I assure our loyal school district customers, school administrators everywhere, parents and students who share in our disappointment that we’re doing everything possible to have the app removed from Apple iTunes and the Google Play Store. In addition, Gaggle is consulting with our attorneys and the Federal Trade Commission to determine the appropriate next steps.”

Reviews on the app’s iTunes page indicate that parents are aware of how the app is being used in some schools. 

Attempts by eSchool News to contact Factyle, the Montreal-based company that developed the app, were unsuccessful, though the company does note that users must be at least 17 years old to download the app.

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