JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) — A Missouri judge is deciding whether to be friend or foe, of a new law limiting teacher-student contact online.
Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem heard arguments Wednesday from The Missouri State Teachers Association who has filed a lawsuit against the restrictions that are slated to take effect on Sunday. The American Civil Liberties Union has also filed a lawsuit in federal court.
The MSTA argues the law is unconstitutional and too broad. State Senator Jane Cunningham R-Chesterfield says her bill, known formally as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, will help protect children from inappropriate sexual relationships in schools.
“We’re not stopping any means of communication, let me make that really clear, because some have said educators can not ‘friend’ their students, that is not true, some have said educators can not text or email their students, that is not true,” refutes Cunningham.
She says her law simply prevents those communications from taking place in private. For instance, instead of instant messaging, teachers would have to post on a students’ facebook wall.
The Missouri National Education Association said earlier this week they are working with Sen. Cunningham to fix confusion in the law. Changes in the law’s language can be made during the upcoming special session.
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