Illegal for school librarians to friend students?

Missouri Outlaws Student-Teacher Facebook Friendship

A law signed into law last month in Missouri is making waves nationally, this week. A small part of the wide-ranging SB54, makes it illegal for teachers to be "friends" with students on any social networking site that allows private communication.

That means teachers and students can't be friends on Facebook or can't follow each other on Twitter for example.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/08/02/138932276/missouri-outlaws-student-teacher-fa...

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I imagine this is a measure

I imagine this is a measure taken to try to prevent non-bigoted teachers from helping students escape/survive abusive households.

Uhh....what? Explain this

Uhh....what? Explain this comment...please...

Sounds like a good idea to me, actually

An update to the article states, "the bill does not ban teachers from communicating with students on Facebook or other social media sites. Kelly said it bans private communication." Students and teachers can still keep in touch through groups or pages, they just can't be friends...and that sounds like a good idea to me. If I were a teacher, I wouldn't want to have to monitor everything I put on my Facebook page to make sure it's student appropriate, and I wouldn't want to be bombarded by the status updates, random photos and app requests of all of my students. It's great to keep in touch...but do you really want 100 Farmville requests on your wall every morning? (And yes, I know you can block those, and it works great...until the next day, when everyone is sending out requests for the newest hot app!)

"If I were a teacher, I

"If I were a teacher, I wouldn't want to have to monitor everything I put on my Facebook page to make sure it's student appropriate, and I wouldn't want to be bombarded by the status updates, random photos and app requests of all of my students."

You don't seem to understand that if you have that worry no one forces you to Facebook friend kids? Your comment is like me pointing out I'm not good at swimming and might drown, so I think banning swimming pools (for everyone) is a good idea. If you don't like it, don't do it, but don't take away other people's choices for that reason.

Weak analogy

A better analogy would be: I have a responsibility to keep you, and the other swimmers around you, safe and you're "not good at swimming and might drown", so I decide that you can only swim in areas where there's a lifeguard.

The school isn't forbidding contact through Facebook, they're forbidding one-on-one interaction through friending or PMing. They're not doing this because they don't want students and teachers to be friends or to feel close - they have a responsibility to monitor student/teacher interactions, even when those interactions aren't necessarily during school hours. The smallest things can be used as proof in a case against a teacher, and in today's lawsuit-happy environment, there are more false accusations than ever.

(And since everyone will want proof of that claim, here's what I found with just 10 seconds of Googling:
http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/false-accusations-growing-fear-classroom
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43059702/ns/today-today_people/t/teacher-false-molestation-cha...
http://www.shelbystar.com/articles/girl-56765-doherty-mint.html
http://falseallegations.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/13/)

It just makes sense to have student/teacher Facebook interaction in a public place, like a class group or a school fan page, where content is public and viewable by parents and other staff. Teachers can still be available after hours for questions, have one on one conversations with students in the group forum and share any photos/links/videos etc. that they want - in a public forum.

You said you thought

You said you thought something was a bad idea for you if you did it, so banning it would be a good idea. Which is silly if it's something you can stop doing yourself.

If a teacher is afraid of the "smallest thing," then the teacher doesn't have to do it.

It's frightening how so many people (like you) want more government control to stop others from doing things that they don't want to do themselves.

Do you even use Facebook?

It seems like everyone against this law is up in arms about the government "controlling" their actions - what, exactly, are they forbidding you from doing, other than friending and communicating privately with underage Facebook users, which I still maintain is a bad idea. Is there anything you think a teacher should discuss with a student through a PM that they couldn't also discuss on a group forum? (Or, if it's sensitive, after school, face-to-face, in a counselor's office?) Are there any photos a teacher should share with a student that shouldn't be shared through a class page album? Are there any links/videos a teacher should share with an individual student that shouldn't be viewable by other students, or parents?

Preventing teachers from friending students doesn't prevent communication; it prevents potential false accusations, misunderstandings, and harassment.

Here's my open question to you, and to anyone else against this bill; what rights, exactly, are you trying to protect? People seem to be especially touchy about their Facebook rights these days, but what's so great about a Facebook friendship that you're willing to sacrifice student and teacher safety in order nitpick over the terminology and privacy of a Facebook friendship?

Strong argument

I think Jessmage makes a strong argument.

Since it seems that the law allows open use of Facebook I don't see how this puts any restriction on people that are really an issue.

Sad

"other than friending and communicating privately with underage Facebook users, which I still maintain is a bad idea."

It's a sad sad day when private communications with "underage" people is considered inherently bad. And so bad that not only do some people recommend against it, but people are trying to make it illegal.

What's next? "Well, we don't know if he had sexual communications with that student, but he was communicating privately, which is illegal, so fire him for that." Seriously? Y'all think this is a good thing? We can't even trust teachers to make proper choices for themselves and have to criminalize things?

Frightening and sad.

Sad indeed

I agree that it is sad that we live in a society where it's not wise to develop private, personal relationships with anyone under the age of 18 outside of our family and closest friends, but unfortunately it's reality. "Well, we don't know if he had sexual communications with that student, but he was communicating privately, which is illegal, so fire him for that." is NOT a good thing, but it's at least marginally better than, "Well, we don't know if he had sexual communications with that student, but her parents think they did, and since it was all private communication and no one can prove anything either way, we'd better fire him before our school's name gets dragged through the mud." And tragically, there is also always the possibility for, "Well, we don't know if he had sexual communications with that student, and there's no real proof either way, so let's just shuffle him off to another school district so that if he is doing anything inappropriate it won't be our problem."

In an ideal world it would be nice if we could all get along and trust each other, but it's not an ideal world.

As far as the whole Facebook issue, though, I repeat: what rights, exactly, are you trying to protect? What's so great about being friends on Facebook that you're willing to sacrifice student and teacher safety in order nitpick over the terminology and privacy of a Facebook friendship?

Huh.

I guess the old song is wrong...the farmer and the cowboy *can't* be friends. : (

I don't think it's a nice idea

I think it's a dumb idea. Whey can't teachers and students be friends, tweet pals? Lack of trust here make both student and teacher feel bad.

Nice idea but

I can see lots of students trying to cause problems by following a teacher on Twitter and then reporting THEM for breaking the rules.

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