Determined to limit the possibility of inappropriate contact between teachers and students, the Missouri state government has forbidden teachers from messaging students via social networks.
According to Fox News, the law restricts teachers’ ability to create and use work-related websites and forbids them from using non-work websites that allow “exclusive access” with current or former students.
The law also puts school districts on the hook for failing to disclose suspected or known sex abuse by former employees. Schools must report sex abuse allegations within 24 hours. The law also steps up background checks on school bus drivers and prevents sex offenders from joining school boards.
Some are concerned that the law goes too far in restricting teachers’ ability to communicate. A state senator who supported the law said the law leaves districts to determine how to enforce it:
“We are in no way trying to stop communication between educators and students. We are allowing school districts to form their own policy with this and to police themselves. The social media aspect comes in because we’re finding that it’s an early pathway to sexual misconduct.”