Giving Compass' Take:

•  More technology companies are providing AI to schools to increases safety. The AI and machine learning scan students' emails, texts and documents to look for warning signs of potential violence or threats. 

• How are donors responding to AI being used for school safety? 

• Read about how some schools are turning to controversial AI technology. 

Schools are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence-backed solutions to stop tragic acts of student violence such as the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a year ago.

Bark Technologies, Gaggle.Net, and Securly Inc. are three companies that employ AI and machine learning to scan student emails, texts, documents, and in some cases, social media activity. They look for warning signs of cyberbullying, sexting, drug and alcohol use, depression, and to flag students who may pose a violent risk not only to themselves, but classmates.

When potential problems are found, and depending on the severity, school administrators, parents – and under the most extreme cases – law enforcement officials, are alerted.

The Bark product is free to schools in the U.S. for perpetuity. The company says it can afford to give the service away to schools, because of the money it makes from a version aimed at parents.

There are limitations.

Bark is currently used in more than 1,100 school districts, covering 2.6 million children. If it detects something that is considered exceedingly severe such as a child abduction or school shooting threat, the issue is escalated to the FBI.

Gaggle, which has been around 20 years, charges schools $6 per student, per year. Since July 1, the company claims to have stopped 447 deaths by suicide at the 1,400 school districts that use its service, and that last year it prevented 542 potential deaths by suicide.

"Studies have shown that kids will communicate before a violent act happens and they will communicate electronically. If you don't have the means to hear those cries out for help you're going to have children in jeopardy," said Bill McCullough, vice president of sales at Gaggle.

Read the full article about AI and school safety by Eric Baig at USA Today