Missouri teacher sues state over Facebook law
Teacher argues that new law will make it illegal for her to chat with her own children on Facebook.
Tue, Aug 23 2011 at 12:00 PM
A Missouri teacher has filed suit against the state over a controversial new Facebook law
that prevents teachers and students from contacting each other over the Internet.
The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, signed into law July 14, has a clause which states: "No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a nonwork-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student." The purpose was to prevent inappropriate contact between students and teachers outside the classroom. (The law was named
after a woman who was continually molested and assaulted by her junior high school teacher.) This would include messaging features on Facebook, Twitter, or even private email. "Students" are defined as anyone under 18 who attend or used to attend the school where the teacher works.
School administrators argued that private chats could lead to miscommunications or illicit sexual misconduct on the part of teachers. But many teachers, students and parents argue that the new law goes over the top in its effort to protect students and actually hinders communications between students and their teachers.
One teacher in particular is crying foul over the new legislation. In her lawsuit, teacher Christina Thomas alleges that the Ladue, Mo., school district where she is employed specifically told teachers that they cannot have "exclusive communications" with their own children on Facebook if their children meet the law's definition of a former or current student. Thomas argues that the new law violates her rights under the First and 14th Amendments.
What do you think about Missouri's new Facebook law?
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