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Missouri bans teachers from being Facebook friends with pupils

2nd August

Teaching Repression...

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Missouri criminalises student-teacher friendships on Facebook

Teachers and students walk a dangerous line where they could become too personally involved, at least in cyberspace. And without constant outside supervision to ensure all interaction is proper, who knows what could happen?

At least, that appears to be the argument behind a new bill signed into law by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, that bans student-teacher friendships on social networks, like Facebook and twitter. The law is intended to keep personal interaction at an absolute minimum to ensure all relationships are entirely professional and public seemingly by trying to ban all relationships.

There are also complainst that the vagueness of the language of the law makes it unclear what actually counts as a violation. The law forbids any online interaction between teachers and current or former students on any system that allows private messages. But does students refer to anyone in your class? Or your school? Or anyone in any classroom at any school? Does former mean students you used to teach, and if so, for how long? And how does this apply to twitter, where often people aren't even sure totally sure of the names and identities of everyone who follows them?


29th October

Update: Friends Again...

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Missouri law banning teachers from Facebook friendship with pupils has been repealed

In July 2011 the state of Missouri enacted legislation making Facebook friendship between teachers and students, as well as any sort of social networking, illegal.

After teachers complained the ban was unconstitutional and interfered with education, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon altered the state policy in a new bill he just signed. The initial state senate bill, which has come to be known as the Facebook Law, is no longer in effect, reports The Kansas City Star.

Instead, all Missouri school districts will have until March 2012 to create their own social networking policies.

The Missouri State Teachers Association, concerned about First Amendment rights, had sued the state over the law, claiming it was too vague. They were awarded an injunction Aug. 26, two days before the law was supposed to go into effect.


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