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Missouri Hedges On 'Teachers Can't Friend Students' Law 102

Posted by timothy
from the hemming-and-hawing-and-free-association dept.
bs0d3 writes with an excerpt from an AP story, as carried by NECN.com: "Missouri senators took a step Wednesday toward repealing a contentious new law limiting online conversations between teachers and students, but stirred opposition from the governor by still attempting to mandate that schools adopt their own policies about online chats and text messages. The action by the Senate Education Committee comes a couple of weeks after a Missouri judge blocked the new law on teacher-Internet communications from taking effect because of concerns it infringes on free-speech rights."
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Missouri Hedges On 'Teachers Can't Friend Students' Law

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  • The real issue... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @08:56AM (#37339522)

    The real issue is that the law does/did nothing to protect students from predatory teachers. Missouri also has a law that if a sign is posted banning hand guns in a facility, then you can't bring them in. Like the facebook law, this law also does nothing to protect people from somebody intent on doing harm (maybe the signs are made out of kevlar).

    The real problem with these types of laws are that they are emotional based to give the appearance that something is being done, when in reality, they provide little if any protections to the people they purport to protect. With regards to the facebook law, now only did it not add any real protection, but it was a poorly crafted/worded law and banned all kinds of electronic communications between teachers and students, far more than friending somebody on FB.

    Ironically, under the law as it stood, it was a criminal offense to email a student or former student but not send them an actual letter. Interestingly, since the law applied to all school personnel, not just teachers, it also meant that guidance counselors, nurses, etc., could not communicate with the students electronically. Makes it kind of hard to send out information regarding scholarships, too.

    The law could have avoided all of this by only restricting communications that would not be outside of the realm of what constitutes normal communications between a school employee and a student. That way, a counselor creating a FB page regarding scholarships information or when recruiters will be at the high school would not be illegal.

    In effect, that is what the legislative committee is recommending -- that these types of decisions (ie acceptable use of electronic communications) be set on the local level by local authorities.

    It may take a village to raise a child, but it doesn't require the government to do so.

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