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The Missouri state law preventing teachers from communication exclusively with students on internet sites has been repealed

The Missouri State Teachers Association filed a lawsuit against the state, state governor and attorney general last month to battle a new law that would forbid teachers from having "exclusive access" with students on Internet sites.

The law, which was to take effect on August 28 and was called the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act (after a Missouri student who was molested decades ago), aimed to prevent inappropriate behavior 
between teachers and students by restricting out-of-school contact. Teachers would not be allowed to interact with students on the internet "exclusively," meaning through private messages. The contact would have to be publicly seen by parents and administrators. 

But teachers fought back, saying that students needed that out-of-school contact for help with homework or confidentiality about subjects like bullying. 

Now, the Missouri State Teachers Association has won the battle. The law has been repealed through the Missouri Stat Senate, according to ZDNet.

Senator Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield), who sponsored the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, filed Senate Bill 1 this month, and the Senate now passed SB1 33-0. It will now be taken to the House, be assigned to a committee, and if approved, will become eligible to be debated on the House floor. 

SB1 requires each Missouri school district to have a written policy regarding employee-student communication by March 1, 2012. 

The Missouri State Teachers Association also asked the Circuit Court of Cole County to review the constitutionality of the law's social media section last month. Teachers worried that this new law was broad enough to ban them from having a Facebook, or from "friending" their own children who are Missouri students. They argued that this infringed on First Amendment rights. 

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem granted the group a preliminary injunction that lasts for 180 days and will expire February 20, 2012. 

The Missouri State Teachers Association has not dropped its lawsuit despite this win.

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Unintended Consequences
By schrodog on 9/16/2011 1:48:07 PM , Rating: 3
Knee-jerk laws like these tend to cause more problems in the long run than they solve in the short term.

Don't get me wrong. The relationship between a student and a teacher should remain stricly plutonic, if not friendly (i.e. warm and receptive). There should also be exceptions to laws like these if there is a prior relationship between the student and teacher. For example, my mother and my little brother's teacher are Bible-study partners, so she is a family friend of ours.

I know there are perverted, no good teachers out there, but there are also way more good ones out there who want nothing more than to make sure our children get the best education that they can. I believe a child should be able to call their teacher from home in certain situations such as when they need clarification or help on homework and their parents have already tried to help but did not have the answer. More and more of these types of laws have made the relationship between teachers and students extremely cold and distant, creating a school environment that both teachers and students hate.

Speaking of parents, if they are apathetic in their children's upbringing, if they don't communicate with their children, if they allow their children to always hide-away from the rest of the family, or if they don't engage in activities with their children, then they shouldn't be suprised if their children end up in situations that lead to knee-jerk laws like these.

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