UPDATE 2: Missouri Senate Votes to Repeal Teacher Facebook Friend Ban

Update 2 (Oct. 17, 2011)ZDNet reports that the Missouri Senate just voted unanimously to repeal its recently-passed law that made it illegal for students and teachers to be friends on Facebook and other social networks. The bill will now move to the Missouri House for approval.  This is the right move for a law that was written and passed far too quickly; before people who understood how kids and teachers communicate today were able to convince the legislature of the law’s folly.  Like it or not, kids use Facebook to talk to each other and their teachers.  An outright ban cut out a vital means of dialogue and showed that it’s extraordinarily easy to react too quickly to perceived threats online.  It is admittedly important to protect children from predators, yet the risk of over-reacting to highly-publicized but statistically rare cases of abuse is amplified when you add in a barely understood technology like social media.  Better to keep a close eye on things or create a task force that specializes in the technology so that we don’t have to waste precious government resources passing and repealing bills in quick succession.

Update 1 (Sept. 5, 2011): Read more here.

 

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About Justin Kwong

An attorney in the Twin Cities and adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law where I teach a seminar on the law of virtual worlds.
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