Print 31 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Sep 23 at 11:08 AM

The Missouri state law preventing teachers from communication exclusively with students on internet sites has been repealed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 The law has been repealed through the Missouri Stat Senate, according to ZDNet.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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RE: This is ridiculous...
By The Raven on 9/16/2011 6:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
First of all this is effectively unenforceable as MrBlastman and myself have been pointing out. Kids and teachers can both get secret accounts and even, you're not going to believe this, communicate secretly in ways without using the internet!!

And accountability on adults? If anything, this law takes the accountability from the parents and puts it more or less solely on the teacher when as it is now the accountability is already on the teacher and the parents. A teacher is already accountable if they inappropriately communicate with a student (because there are already laws and policies for such conduct) and a parent is accountable for allowing their kid to communicate privately with a teacher (since they don't want their kids being abused, etc.).

People really need to stop trying to reinvent the "wheel" just because the "road" is now on the Internet.

RE: This is ridiculous...
By vortmax2 on 9/19/2011 11:36:02 AM , Rating: 2
In no way does this law take away the responsibility of the parents to their children. No law is needed for parents to keep their kids accountable. However, adults are not kids any more and sometimes laws are needed to keep adults in check. This law creates a legal way for school districts to keep their teachers accountable if they are caught in private communications with their students. Once the students reach the legal adult age of 18, the law doesn't cover them it should be.

What people are failing to see here is the big picture. Society has changed in this digital age in regards to the rules of engagement of private communications. In the past, to keep a private, secret relationship, it required personal contact or writing letters. There was inherient lag time with these which, in turn, slowed the pace of the developing relationship. Now-a-days, a simple text or chat window gives instant access to the other party...and it's much easier to keep secret and certainly takes less effort. This, in turn, accelerates the pace of the relationship greatly. Of course, when dealing with kids, this can prove to be a bad thing in many cases...and I'm not just talking about relationships with adults.

In addition, not as much thought goes into a simple text or chat as opposed to writing a letter. This, of course, allows room for more compulsive comments and thoughts to be conveyed that normally wouldn't be in a letter. This can accelerate the pace of the relationship as well.

This 'issue' goes much deeper that it seems. I'm just trying to give people the 'bigger' picture...

RE: This is ridiculous...
By The Raven on 9/23/2011 11:08:06 AM , Rating: 2
In no way does this law take away the responsibility of the parents to their children.
To be honest with you I don't know what such a moronic law does. But IF ANYTHING it takes away responsibility of the parent in a symbolic way, a security blanket if you will, that fools parents into thinking that their kids are safe from the internet all of the sudden.

Back in the day, if your kid was molested you (and your kid especially) were out of luck. Now you can sue the school, State, teacher or whoever for being negligent. Well guess who is never sued? The parents. They are immume (as they should be imo) to such lawsuits. The only thing that they are not immune to is the guilt they should feel when they themselves are negligent. This law just adds one more thing to the list where we can point the finger at the teacher and not at the parent. Effectively reducing the amount of guilt that the parents should feel.

Of course this is all in the nitty gritty of psychology and debatable I guess. But what IS undeniable is that this is completely worthless and will stop zero incidences of teacher/student hookups.
Society has changed in this digital age in regards to the rules of engagement of private communications. In the past, to keep a private, secret relationship, it required personal contact or writing letters.
Yes society has changed. But did you intentionally forget phones (both rotary and cell)? This has been going on for a long time. If you were correct in your thinking then the first instances of teacher/student relations would've been around the advent of the internet. But no, it has been going on for quite some time. I'm guessing that non-tech related societal changes would explain any increase in occurances (e.g. popularity of milfs, changes to traditional relationship norms).

Yes the issue it is deeper than it seems. Parents need to take that into account. Not lawyers. Sure there is FB and texting and IM now. But there are also nannycams, easily accessed and searchable phone logs and password protection on your computers. If you think you can't protect your kids without this law then you are a moron.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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