Missouri Senate Bill 54, the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, is set to take effect next week. The bill provides, among other things:
By January 1, 2012, every school district must develop a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communications. Each policy must include appropriate oral and nonverbal personal communication, which may be combined with sexual harassment policies, and appropriate use of electronic media as described in the act, including social networking sites. Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Former student is defined as any person who was at one time a student at the school at which the teacher is employed and who is eighteen years of age or less and who has not graduated.
On Friday, a teachers' group filed a lawsuit, claiming the law is unconstitutional, and so vague that teachers cannot know what conduct is permitted and what is not.
News and commentary:
Kansas City Monitor