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Missouri Law Forbids Teacher, Students From Being Facebook Friends

Missouri Law Forbids Teacher, Students From Being Facebook Friends

A new law in Missouri has imposed a ban on Facebook and any other social networking between students and teachers.

Missouri’s governor, Jay Nixon, signed Senate Bill 54 that will go into effect on August 28, 2011. It is part of an initiative “to more clearly define teacher-student boundaries.”

This bill, sponsored by Senator Jane Cunningham, creates the “Amy Hestir Student Protection Act.”

Its goal is to eliminate unreported sexual misconduct and improve background information for hiring schools.

Amy Hestir, the then 13-year-old who was sexually assaulted by her teacher, is the inspiration for this new bill.

Hestir testified before the Missouri House Education Committee about her ordeal that happened over two decades ago.

She revealed the troubling details and said, “I support this bill 100% and I am not afraid to tell my story even though it brought so much shame on me for so long.”

“Senate Bill 54 is designed to prevent such sexual misconduct from happening, compelling school districts to adopt written policies between teachers and students on electronic media, social networking and other forms of communication,” wrote tech and social media site Mashable.

According to Nixa School District spokesperson, Zac Rantz, the bill has a few areas of uncertainty. KSPR News reported that not all teacher-student Facebook contact is forbidden, just direct contact.

Teachers can have a public fan page. They just are not able to “friend” a student using their own personal private profile.

Those opposing the law believe it would infringe upon teachers’ rights and make them “guilty until proven innocent.”

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