As you may have heard, Missouri passed a law known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act,
a few weeks ago making it illegal for teachers to have contact with their students via social networking sites.
This law immediately faced challenges about its lack of common sense as well as its constitutionality, so much so that a right-leaning teacher group in Missouri (the MSTA) won the race to challenge it in court.
Little more than two weeks after its UNANIMOUS passage in the Missouri legislature (the Missouri legislature being basically as much an embarrassment as most state legislatures are), the law's implementation was stayed by court order.
So, on Friday, September 15, the law was revised by the Missouri Senate, although it has not been passed by the House nor signed by the governor, so the lawsuit continues.
Here's the question: would this law have prevented some horrible people from using their positions of trust and authority as teachers from contact their students for illicit purposes?
I am adamant about NOT friending my students on Facebook until they are out of college, which in my book means they have to be 24 years old. Then, and only then, if they really want to read about Ms. Cornelius' battles with the neighbors' Satanic dogs or my weird snippets of 70s rock songs, then be my guest. They must really have liked me to want to connect after all those years. Hopefully, also, by then, I will not be treated to pictures of their inebriated selves at some fraternity kegger showing off their new nipple ring, which would be deeply traumatic for me (and one would also think for them, but, y'know, c'est la vie).
I also do not give out my phone number, nor do I have a Twitter account, nor do I stay in my room alone with a student without the door open and at least fifteen feet between us.
BUT, disgusting creeps will be disgusting creeps, no matter what. This law would could easily have been read to make my classroom blog illegal, since it was not created under the aegis of our school district's creaky, misbegotten, twitchy, unreliable technology department, of whom I have previously written. If someone in state government REALLY wants to make a difference on this issue, how about making it illegal for districts to cut deals with miscreants who have crossed the line-- for instance, in exchange for a resignation, the district writes a neutral recommendation, merely pawning off creeps onto the next unsuspecting school district faster than you can say "pedophile." At the very least.
But this law? Unconstitutional as written, and also unproductive.
Labels: civil rights, justice, school law, technology