You remember that song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Missouri school teachers have been asking the state legislature the same question after it passed a law requiring schools to prevent teachers and students from being friends on any social network that is not dedicated for educational purposes.
But last Friday, the Missouri legislature saw the error of their ways, voted to repeal the law, and decided to let teachers be Facebook friends with their students.
This law would have scared good teachers away from using social networks as a teaching tool while failing to stop the real bad conduct. It was so bad that we placed it on our latest iAWFUL list. Good teachers use every tool at their disposal to reach their students and make learning more interactive. But with this law, Missouri took away the valuable tool of social networks in fear of teachers with criminal intentions.
Teachers were forced to choose between using social networking in the classroom and risk losing their jobs, or not use social networking as a teaching tool.
Teachers were forced to choose between using social networking in the classroom and risk losing their jobs, or not use social networking as a teaching tool. As you can imagine, most people would choose the option that could not result in unemployment.
Under this law, a teacher taking maternity leave couldn’t share baby news and photos with her students on Facebook. Or a school band might not use a social network to arrange a bus departure time. Or a coach might not want to use a social network to tell students the game was cancelled.
But thankfully, the Missouri legislature changed its mind.
I guess now the new lyrics to that song should be: “Why we Can Be Friends”
- Missouri Teacher-Student Social Networking Law (netchoice.org)
- Missouri Senate lets teachers be Facebook friends with students (zdnet.com)
- Missouri changes its mind on teacher-student Facebook message ban (arstechnica.com)
- A Close Look at Missouri’s “Amy Hestir Student Protection Act” (Guest Blog Post) (ericgoldman.org)
- Injunction on Missouri’s Facebook Law is a Temporary Victory For Teachers (legallyeasy.rocketlawyer.com)
- Facebook’s Apps Platform: a $15 billion Dance Club for Users and Developers (netchoice.org)