If you’re a student living in Missouri, you’d better not be Facebook friends with any of your teachers – that will soon be illegal.
According to Missouri Senate Bill 54 that goes into effect on August 28, any social networking — not just Facebook — is prohibited between teachers and students. It’s all part of an effort to “more clearly define teacher-student boundaries.” However, KSPR reports that It’s only direct social media contact that’s prohibited; teachers are allowed to create Facebook Pages where all students have direct access to the teacher in a more public setting.
Inappropriate contact between students and teachers is at the root of the legislation. Senate Bill 54 is designed to protect children from sexual misconduct by teachers, compelling school districts to adopt written policies between teachers and students on electronic media, social networking and other forms of communication.
Teachers and students usually shouldn’t be friends, anyway, so on the surface this sounds like a good idea. However, we wonder how this will be policed. Will the state be allowed access to Facebook accounts, personal computers or Internet service provider records to see who’s befriending teachers or students? Inappropriate relationships will be hard to detect, especially since teachers and students engaged in such relationships would probably be concealing their communications, electronic or otherwise.
The question now is, will this new law pass a constitutional test? And who would step forward to challenge it?