Facebook Law Seeks to Defriend Student-Teacher Friendships

8 years 9 months 4 days ago Tuesday, August 23 2011 Aug 23, 2011 Tuesday, August 23, 2011 12:45:00 PM CDT August 23, 2011 in News
By: Kim St. Onge
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COLUMBIA - A group of Missouri teachers and students goes to court Wednesday to block a law it says is unfriendly to Facebook friendships.  Weeks after Senator Jane Cunningham introduced Senate Bill 54, also known as the 'Facebook Law,' various Missouri groups continue fighting to shut down the bill so they can change it.

The bill prevents teachers from establishing, maintaining, or using a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian to see.  It also blocks teachers from using nonwork-related websites for one-on-one conversations between teachers and students.

Rockbridge High School teacher Jim Meyer said the bill's wording makes interpreting it somewhat confusing.

"It's vague and even our home school district is still trying to figure out how to it's going to be intrepreted and enforced," Meyer said.

Cunningham's bill is at least partly in response to several sexual harrassment cases traced to student-teacher social media interaction.  But the Missouri State Teacher Association, or MSTA, argues resticting social media interaction between teachers and students could have negative consequences on student learning.

 "If that teacher offers the opportunity for online chat through Facebook, say from seven to eight o'clock at night so that that teacher can help a student with math problems, under specific guidelines from this law, that wouldn't be allowed," MSTA spokesperson Todd Fuller said.

 

The Missouri National Education Association wants to keep the 'Facebook Law,' , but change it to keep schools -- not the state government -- in control of the issue.

The bill is expected to go into effect on Sunday.

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