Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Injunction Blocks "Don't Be Friends" Law For Missouri Teachers

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the you-can't-be-friends-says-the-government dept.

Facebook 150

Mr.Intel writes "A Missouri Circuit Court granted an injunction today, blocking the state law (PDF) that would ban all electronic communication between teachers and students, including their own children that was set to take effect on Sunday."

cancel ×

150 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223810)

Why don't people do that here? ;-)

Re:First! (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 3 years ago | (#37223912)

Indubitably because Missouri state law currently forbids it.

Re:First! (1)

thePuck77 (1311533) | about 3 years ago | (#37225918)

Generally because no one cares. Except the people that do. But they don't matter. :p

Anyone have a link to the decision? (1)

v1 (525388) | about 3 years ago | (#37223874)

I'd like to see the "What the hell is wrong with you?" comments made by the circuit judges...

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224676)

The relevant excerpt (from SrLnclt's PDF link):

Section ?162.069.4 RSMo implicates the rights of Plaintiffs protected by the First amendment of the United States Constitution and the Missouri Constitution in that it prohibits all teachers from using any non-work-related social networking sites which allow exclusive access with current and former students. Even if a complete ban on certain forms of communication between certain individuals could be construed as content neutral and only a reasonable restriction on "time, place, and manner," the breadth of the prohibition is staggering. The Court finds at [sic] based upon the evidence adduced at the preliminary injunction hearing, social networking is extensively used by educators. It is often the primary, if not sole manner, of communications between the Plaintiffs and their students. Examination of the statute indicates that that [sic] it would prohibit all teachers from using any non-work-related social networking sites which allow exclusive access with current and former students. It clearly prohibits communication between family members and their teacher parents using these types of sites. The Court finds that the statute would have a chilling effect on speech.

Note that this is a preliminary injunction -- basically the argument is, there's a reasonable chance the law will be overturned, and enforcing it meanwhile will fuck a lot of people over, so it won't go into effect until the trial's over. Without the injunction, the law would go into effect, the court would try the case, the law would (as certainly as one can speak of the future) inevitably be overturned, but the teachers would have been fucked over for months, with no legal remedy.

Expect a more definitive "What the hell is wrong with you?" in the actual decision.

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225488)

*me rolls eyes*

No, the law wouldn't have had ANY effect on teachers until their school district drafted the written policy required by the law.

The ENTIRE portion that is causing this whole uproar is not even something that the law required of the teachers; it's a requirement for the school districts.

Quoting:

162.069.1. Every school district shall, by January 1, 2012, promulgate a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communication. Such policy shall contain at least the following elements: [...]
(2) Appropriate use of electronic media such as text messaging and internet sites for both instructional and personal purposes, with an element concerning use of social networking sites no less stringent than the provisions of subsections 2, 3, and 4 of this section.
2. As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:
(1) "Exclusive access", the information on the website is available only to the owner (teacher) and user (student) by mutual explicit consent and where third parties have no access to the information on the website absent an explicit consent agreement with the owner (teacher);
(2) "Former student", 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;
(3) "Nonwork-related internet site", any internet website or web page used by a teacher primarily for personal purposes and not for educational purposes;
(4) "Work-related internet site", any internet website or web pages used by a teacher for educational purposes.
3. No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a work-related internet site unless such site is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian.
4. No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a nonwork-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a teacher from establishing a nonwork related internet site, provided the site is used in accordance with this section.

All the law requires is that the school districts create some sort of policy that addresses those concerns. And they don't have to come up with it overnight. They had the rest of the year.

This whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion.

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (1)

hxnwix (652290) | about 3 years ago | (#37225796)

No, the law wouldn't have had ANY effect on teachers until their school district drafted the written policy required by the law.

The ENTIRE portion that is causing this whole uproar is not even something that the law required of the teachers; it's a requirement for the school districts.

The law requires school districts to enact policy that blatantly violates the first amendment to such a degree that the law has been entirely blocked.

This whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion.

Tell it to the judge.

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225800)

Did you even read what I posted?

No?

Never mind then.

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (1)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | about 3 years ago | (#37226094)

I'm trying to figure out how requiring the school district to enact it instead of it being enacted directly by the state makes it better, or how the school districts having a year to draft the policy makes it better. Those aren't even relevant to the conversation and you act as though the outcry hinges upon who's enacting the policy and the timeframe in which they will do so.

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37226450)

No, it doesn't violate the first amendment because the law only applies to children under 18. Nothing in the first amendment says adults have the right to speak to other people's children, good thing because that would be a little creepy.

Re:Anyone have a link to the decision? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37226438)

Why did you post this as AC? This is the most informative post on here.

Every legislator that voted for it should resign (3, Interesting)

schwit1 (797399) | about 3 years ago | (#37223888)

They took an oath "I do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support the Constitution of the United States ...". Voting for a law that clearly violates the Constitution means they violated their oath of office.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37223910)

It doesn't clearly violate the constitution. People choose to teach and when they do, they have to follow the resulting requirements. In some cases that means being subjected to prosecution for what would otherwise be legal behavior. One example is that in some states the statute of limitations is higher for teacher student relationships than it would otherwise be.

Personally, I think it's somewhat silly as FB interactions at least are subject to subpoena a better law would be to mandate data retention on those communiques.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223946)

It bans teachers from ever using Twitter or Facebook under any circumstances... ever...

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224028)

Actually it specifically said that it does NOT prohibit teachers from having accounts on social networking websites, so long as they don't use the accounts to have non-public communications with students.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (3, Informative)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 years ago | (#37224064)

It says they can't use sites *which allow* exclusive access to students, not that they can't use sites *for* exclusive access to students. So if the site allows private messages they can't even use the site for public messages.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (2)

myrid (1670430) | about 3 years ago | (#37224110)

Indeed. Quote [mo.gov] from section 162.069:

Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.

Honestly from the wording, it sounds like they can't use any social networking at all, even if they don't even have any students friended... as long as the potential to talk to a student privately is there.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 3 years ago | (#37224184)

That appears to be the judge's take on it as well.
I particularly like where he says "the breadth of the prohibition is staggering".
I think that says it all.
-nB

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (2)

Restil (31903) | about 3 years ago | (#37226338)

I don't know where exactly we all went wrong. I know WHY such a law was enacted, but how did we get this far? Student and teacher have an inappropriate relationship. Ok, fine. It happens. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen, and it has likely happened since there were teachers and students. Somewhere along the line, the issue of what is appropriate (and legal) eventually made its way into policy and legislation, and we were all content to understand that everyone knew the rules and occasionally we would have to slap down someone who violated it. For those of you who are 30 or older, think back to your school years. You've probably heard a rumor or two, or if it got really bad, maybe read about it in the newspaper, where some local teacher and a student had an inappropriate relationship. It was scandalous to be sure, but it was rare enough to be considered an oddity. Something that doesn't happen often enough to get really excited about. Just take care of it when it DOES happen and let everyone's lives continue as normal. It's likely that the percentages haven't really changed. What HAS changed though is the fact that with the internet making sure that every local story is potentially nationwide news, we now get to hear about EVERY SINGLE CASE. And if by some chance the national media overlooks one, someone on digg or fark will be sure to publicize it, with a snarky, memorable headline, so we don't miss out on any. This makes what is actually a very rare event seem like it's happening every day, all around us. It makes it seem so rampant that surely EVERY teacher is pondering the possibilities. So enough concerned parents get just loud enough for the politicians to pay attention, and the message is that we want to preemptively prevent this from happening.

The problem with politicians is they tend to be reactionary. When some kid shows up to school armed to the teeth and kills 15 classmates, those politicians BETTER DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Some new law better be passed that will prevent this thing from ever happening again. The problem is, the easiest, cleanest, and least debatable solution would usually revolve around some controversial issue, like outlawing all guns. Fortunately, there is enough resistance to make sure THAT doesn't quite happen. But consider teachers and social media, and how it relates with the bottomless pit of scandal that revolves around protecting our children at all costs. I'm sure, especially in the last few years, that a lot of the inappropriate teacher/student relationships had some element of social media involvement. That's a simple but potent fact that people and politicians can latch onto. Cut THAT particular cord, and maybe the relationships will
never materialize in the first place. The problem is, it seems too weak to just make it a general policy to avoid unnecessary off-campus communication with current students. That's not really a law... people can't really BREAK that law, and therefore we can't punish anyone who does. So they come up with something that's absolute, thorough (so nobody finds a loophole), and concise, so people can actually read all of it in one sitting. By the time you're done drafting such a
law, you end up with a much larger problem than the one you were trying to solve in the first place.

Chris Hansen must be proud of what he has achieved.

-Restil

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224236)

Indeed not. Quote [mo.gov] from section 162.069.4:

No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a nonwork-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a teacher from establishing a nonwork related internet site, provided the site is used in accordance with this section.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

psiclops (1011105) | about 3 years ago | (#37224722)

Although it does say establish a site, not an account on one.

which means it'll likely be decided the first time it gets argued in court.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225108)

From the definitions:

"Nonwork-related internet site", any internet website or web page used by a teacher primarily for personal purposes and not for educational purposes;

They're not as dumb as you seem to think, you know.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

jnork (1307843) | about 3 years ago | (#37224484)

"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."

Ah, I finally got to read that part... I was thinking that being friended on Facebook to my former teacher from 1974 might endanger him.

Though since neither of us is in Missouri it wouldn't count. But still....

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (3, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 3 years ago | (#37224526)

Actually, looking at that with a bit broader perspective..

it sounds like teachers not only cannot use any social networking, but also cannot use non-school-provided email, cannot use slashdot, and cannot play any sort of online game that has any sort of chat or messaging function.

Kinda ridiculous. Just a tad. Teachers have enough shit to put up with that forces them to keep up appearances of an absolutely puritanical robotic life. Oh gosh, Timmy's dad saw you buying a case of beer at the store, YOU'RE IN FOR IT NOW! He'll go and complain to the school board about what a poor example you're setting for the children!.. yeah.

Depression! Fun for the whole fucking family!

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225622)

You make a joke, but my mom was scared to death an still is to even be seen anywhere need alcohol,because she's so close to retirement.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

thePuck77 (1311533) | about 3 years ago | (#37226018)

It seems that would apply to IMs and email, as well. Carried to its logical conclusion, teachers would be prohibited from any electronic communication at all that allows for privacy.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226284)

It seems that would apply to IMs and email, as well. Carried to its logical conclusion, teachers would be prohibited from any electronic communication at all that allows for privacy.

They can still telnet to port 25.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224050)

Seems pretty clear to me. If you are a teacher, does that mean they can dictate what you do on your own time, who you can talk to on your own time? Here I thought we were living in a free society..

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 3 years ago | (#37224138)

Fine with me, where do I sign up for that job? You are paying me for any and all hours that you dictate my actions correct?

How is the overtime law in Missouri written? Here in California anything over 12 hours in one shift is double time, anything over 60 hours in a work week is double time, (and my personal fave) the seventh day worked in a work week is double time (and the counter on the double time clock does not reset until you get a day off). That last bit is something my boss and I learned when I worked 30 days straight @ about 10-12 hours per day. Day 7-30 (about 253 hours) were double time.
-nB

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 3 years ago | (#37225514)

Too bad teachers are paid by contract and not hourly.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

macs4all (973270) | about 3 years ago | (#37224706)

doesn't clearly violate the constitution.

Why yes, yes it does.

The State has to show a very strong public policy reason for violating the Constitution like that. "Shouting 'Fire!' in a theatre" kind of "strong".

I'm pretty sure they won't be able to do this.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#37226020)

The State has to show a very strong public policy reason for violating the Constitution like that. "Shouting 'Fire!' in a theatre" kind of "strong".

Here I thought they had to amend the constitution and follow the proper procedures rather than just disobey the constitution because a bunch of people think they should.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37224736)

It doesn't clearly violate the constitution. People choose to teach and when they do, they have to follow the resulting requirements. In some cases that means being subjected to prosecution for what would otherwise be legal behavior.

As the judge noted, it would explicitly prohibit parent teachers from facebooking with their own child if that child were their student.

There really isnt any way that it doesnt violate the first amendment, except that technically it isnt "Congress" enacting the law (thank goodness for incorporation!).

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (2)

psiclops (1011105) | about 3 years ago | (#37224758)

except if this law passed it would come into effect after many people decided to be a teacher.

and also what if there were a law that stripped the constitutional rights of anyone who attended protests against the government. i mean they choose to attend the protest right?

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223924)

If we removed every politician that violated the constitution then we would have to start with Washington, because the Neutrality Proclamation was probably one of the worst violations of it.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (2)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 3 years ago | (#37223962)

If we removed every politician...

I really do not see a serious problem with that.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 3 years ago | (#37224550)

I am interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37224752)

Could you please clarify in what way it was a violation? Our country's military and its command is explicitly given to the federal government in the constitution, and I fail to see how a declaration of military intention exceeds that authority.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 years ago | (#37224048)

They're state legislators from Missouri. Finding out what is and is not in the constitution would require reading it, which would limit their ability to call things they don't like "unconstitutional" and would limit their ability to propose quick fixes and powergrabs.

I often think that people who advocate states rights aren't paying any attention to the actual state governments they want to give more power to...

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (2)

similar_name (1164087) | about 3 years ago | (#37224516)

I often think that people who advocate states rights aren't paying any attention to the actual state governments they want to give more power to...

It also violates the Missouri Constitution it seems and giving the states more power doesn't mean they could go against the U.S. Constitution. Homogenizing the states by making the Federal government more powerful hasn't really made anyone happy on the left, right or middle. Throughout history the choice of states has helped America through tough times. Populations moved around as an economic collapse in one area would lead people to other areas. Let some states be more liberal and let some be more conservative while protecting civil rights/liberty. People for the most part should be governed locally. The seesaw between the two sides at the Federal level have led to massive spending by both sides and a lowest common denominator approach to politics.

I'm unsure what the answer to all of our problems are but I tend to think people will always disagree about some things. We just don't need to turn every disagreement into action by the Federal government. So far in this particular instance, Missouri seems to be handling it completely on their own.

If half the country likes law A and dislikes law B and the other half likes law B and dislikes A there are two choices (in the context of federal vs state). At a federal level you get one law you like and one you don't. At a state level you get 25 states to choose from. I'd rather have the opportunity to move than be governed by laws I disagree with half the time.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225738)

Right, and if your half of the country doesn't like blacks, well, it can just codify it into law (Law A).

Your half doesn't like gays? Doesn't want to recognise their marriages? (Law B)

You were saying...?

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225644)

Could that really be worse than the utter clusterfuck that is the federal government?

You have a better chance of being able to influence the state government for the better, being one in a few million rather than one in hundreds of millions of subjects.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (4, Insightful)

chispito (1870390) | about 3 years ago | (#37224146)

They took an oath "I do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support the Constitution of the United States ...". Voting for a law that clearly violates the Constitution means they violated their oath of office.

And this is different than all the other countless times a law has been struck down... how?

No, they should resign because they're stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224170)

Any legislator too stupid to foresee this, or to consult with people who could foresee this, doesn't deserve the office.

Re:No, they should resign because they're stupid (2)

zzatz (965857) | about 3 years ago | (#37224734)

No, voting for this doesn't mean that they are stupid. Hypocrisy is a more likely explanation than stupidity.

Here's how it works: Some parent gets offended because their kid did something that the parent didn't know about. Maybe the parents are jerks, maybe there's a real problem, but you can be sure that one or more parent was offended.

The parent makes a fuss, and a TV station gets involved. TV stations and newspapers love controversy, so they blow the story up into a huge sensation. The public loves to get self-righteous.

Something must be done. Cue the politicians. They come up with something. It doesn't matter if the law is good or bad, what matters is that Politicians A, B, and C are in the paper and on TV doing something about the outrage of the month. Let the judge take the heat from idiot parents, the politicians tried to Protect Our Children.

Will the TV station explain what's wrong with the law? No, that's bad for ratings. Facts are boring. Emotion is good for ratings. See talk radio for more examples. Hell, see Slashdot headlines and summaries.

The politician will lose maybe three votes from people who understand the Constitution. If he votes against the law, he loses hundreds or thousands of votes.

There are people who view holding office as public service, and they try to write good laws. But most voters and most media personalities don't care. Prayer in School! Abortion! Guns! Drugs! Gay Marriage! Immigrants! Why tackle hard issues that TV will ignore when you can invoke rage about high-emotion issues?

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37224260)

The out for that is that you'd have to show that they were quite certain the law violated the constitution before signing it. They can always play the "I'm a moron" card, who wouldn't believe that?

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 3 years ago | (#37224400)

Saying you're that stupid you didn't recognize a law would be a violation of the Constitution should then be construed as the rep is incompetent for their job -- and should still resign.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37224424)

You'll get no argument from me on that one.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226304)

As well as the little phrase: "ignorance of the law is no excuse"

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37224764)

Thats really not relevant, either they are unwilling to respect the incorporated aspects of the Bill of Rights, or they are so ignorant of them that they are unable; either way they are not capable of the job.

This kind of reminds me of when DC tried to ban handguns, as if they thought it could somehow pass court muster.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#37224822)

They probably have Constitutional immunity. The proper recourse against the legislators is to recall those legislators or, if the law in that jurisdiction doesn't permit recall elections, vote them out at the next opportunity. The proper recourse against the law itself is to sue an appropriate party (often a part of the Executive Branch) to have it ruled unconstitutional, assuming you have standing.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 3 years ago | (#37225002)

They probably have Constitutional immunity. The proper recourse against the legislators is to recall those legislators or, if the law in that jurisdiction doesn't permit recall elections, vote them out at the next opportunity. The proper recourse against the law itself is to sue an appropriate party (often a part of the Executive Branch) to have it ruled unconstitutional, assuming you have standing.

The problem with these so-called recourses is they don't provide sufficient deterrent to legislators. They can pass unconstitutional law after unconstitutional law; those which are unchallenged or survive the courts stand, those which do not end up being passed again with slightly different wording until they do survive the courts. As long as there's no actual punishment for legislators (and I don't mean something as blunt and as uncertain as an election), they'll keep doing it.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226354)

Personally, as a teacher, I have always had close, intimate relationships with my pre-adolescent school children long before Facebook became a phenomena. I don't see why things should change just because of social networking technologies on the Internet. In fact, I am proud to say that I have taught some of the sexiest students in the United States, who can now easily share their school uniform pictures with their favorite teacher. Facebook makes it easier for me to invite my Facebook friends over for a sleep over or some skinny-dipping in my pool. Without Facebook and social networking in general I would just be another impersonal, anonymous teacher. But with Facebook I get to have much more intimate, meaningful relationships with my pupils.

Re:Every legislator that voted for it should resig (2)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37226500)

Again, like others have said many times, this law only applied to children under 18 so it doesn't violate any amendments since you do not have the right to speak to other people's children.

the world existed before Facebook and texting and somehow we went through school just fine. The law is just trying to protect students from creepy teachers AND protect teachers from false accusations or accidentally getting in trouble ("Susie, why is your teacher mr Rodgers messaging you on Facebook?"). This law sounded good for everyone and its sensational journalism like "law stopping teachers from talking To Their Own Children (!!) has been rejected" that is ruining it.

Can someone explain why it's necessary for teachers and students to be Facebook friends? How exactly is it going to hurt education if they're not friends? Also the law does not prevent electronic communication, it only forbids it outside the watchful eye of school admin and parents. If the school setup their own social networking app that gave school admin and parents the right to see everything that would be fine.

I'm a bit surprised Facebook hasn't chimed in saying they'll add a feature allowing parents and school admin the ability to see student and teacher communications. That would solve this whole mess. Actually Facebook should probably add a few parental controls to accounts of those under 18 anyway.

stupid micromanagement (1)

cowdung (702933) | about 3 years ago | (#37223950)

Offenders can still send private text messages or other forms of communication.

Being a "friend" is not inherently a bad thing.

Classic case of good intentions gone too far.

Re:stupid micromanagement (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 3 years ago | (#37224054)

Being a "friend" is not inherently a bad thing.

Maybe not but as a high school student I saw plenty of examples of questionable relationships between students and teachers.

Re:stupid micromanagement (0)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 3 years ago | (#37224268)

U jelly?

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 3 years ago | (#37224284)

I also knew a teacher and a student that were friends during school, but started dating when she was 20 (he was about 28). I questioned her about it and she said she never thought about him that way while she was in school, just as a friend/teacher. Only in college did she realize how much she missed him and they eventually got married.

As far as anyone could tell, it was all innocent and proper and her parents liked him and were good with it. It's rare, but it happens.

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

jdpars (1480913) | about 3 years ago | (#37224342)

It sounds like the teacher there wasn't using his authority to encourage or coerce the student into a relationship. That's the real risk as far as teacher-student relationships; a student may feel like it is entirely voluntary but the teacher's authoritative position has formed the entire thing. And that should be the target of any law. Instead, teachers are treated like criminals. We are held to a very high standard of behavior, but treated like dog shit in return.

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37224776)

A lot of those are already illegal; explicit violations of the first amendment through new legislation dont really fix any problems, they just create a zillion new ones.

Tell me, if its already illegal for a teacher to abuse their position of power to have an inappropriate relationship with their students, and if such laws dont always work, what makes THIS law so effective that it will put a stop to such relationships?

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 years ago | (#37225758)

Tell me, if its already illegal for a teacher to abuse their position of power to have an inappropriate relationship with their students, and if such laws dont always work, what makes THIS law so effective that it will put a stop to such relationships?

Back in the day, this is what we would call The $64,000 Question.

Re:stupid micromanagement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226328)

Back in the day, this is what we would call The $64,000 Question.

Hey, this is Slashdot: it should be the $65,536 question.

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37224058)

I largely attribute this 'teachers are not friends of students' bit to big city attitudes. Teachers are unlikely to have an existing relationship with a child or their family in large urban areas.

I would also question the judgement of a teacher who oversteps professional boundaries and becomes friends with a student who they teach. This is because teachers are in a 'position of trust.' That basically means that a teacher is given access to and authority over a child, usually for an intended purpose (in this case, to educate them). Yet this position can also be abused. Sometimes that abuse will have positive consequences, such as a healthy relationship between and adults and a child (e.g. the adult serves as a positive role model, provides supports in challenging times, or mentors the child in activities outside of the scope of schooling). Sometimes that abuse will have extraordinarily negative consequences, such as a teacher using their position to gain access to children then physically, emotionally, or sexually abusing them.

Re:stupid micromanagement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224186)

You should listen to how you sound to someone with a different perspective. You're basically saying that children (whatever that means) aren't human beings, but things to be given access to, authority over, educated, or abused. That's okay. I fear that a majority of adults feel the same way about them. Children are idols, representing the innocence that the adults have lost ... who are to be treasured and protected, until they reach adulthood. Then, fuck 'em. Let 'em get a job, pay their bills, die of cancer, or be shipped to die overseas.

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

jdpars (1480913) | about 3 years ago | (#37224364)

No, he's saying that children are impressionable. This is proven. But if your perspective is taken into account, then every student has to be evaluated on their capacity to make any decision before being allowed or disallowed to make it. This won't work because no evaluation system will work for every student in every situation, and as soon as one student's capacity for making a decision is overevaluated and that student is hurt or something, the entire system will be blamed. It's much easier to understand trends of student development and to realize while the occasional very mature student is restricted by the system, most of them follow some basic patterns, including a vulnerability to exploitation by those in authority until late high school or afterwards.

Re:stupid micromanagement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224470)

Funny how you speak of exploitation. Like this never happens to "adults". In fact, not only are adults exploited frequently, but it is institutionalized.

As far as being impressionable, yes, young people are impressionable. In fact, that's why the government wants them in school (where they can be programmed) and why many people want them in church (where they can be programmed). Society's treatment of children is just as inhumane, and indeed malicious, as that handful of sexual predators people are so worried about.

Re:stupid micromanagement (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37224446)

I understand what you're saying, but I also fear that you are taking it to an extreme. You seem to be suggesting that children are treated as property, and yes some adults do that. Yet a lot of what you're describing here is a consequence of adults being responsible for the physical, emotional, and social welfare of a developing person. Once they have reached that point, presumably they can take care of themselves.

Re:stupid micromanagement (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37224344)

The facebook "friend" covers a large gamut of relationships. It can be entirely impersonal such as liking a band or a product or it can be more personal than real-world friends such as married people. I would hope the student-teacher friend status would be along the lines of mentor (which is certainly not at all an abuse!). If it isn't, then electronic communication isn't the problem and blocking electronic communication certainly won't fix it.

Exactly: Trust (2)

jopsen (885607) | about 3 years ago | (#37224420)

This is because teachers are in a 'position of trust.'

Then how about trusting teachers not to abuse your kid :)

At the end of the day, you can legislate everything a teacher must/can say, but is that good?
It surely prevents teachers from doing anything out of the ordinary, and in that case why not just replace him with a video tape...
Bottom line: Trust that your teachers are competent and manage a healthy relationship with their students.

If I remember correctly, teachers in my public school told us that we could always come to them if we had personal problems. Surely, they could abuse any such situation. However, I find it far more likely teachers might actually help the kid, get over the grief of loosing grandparents, stop others bulling or discover that the kid is being neglected at home.

Re:Exactly: Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224462)

> the grief of loosing grandparents

My grandparents are hippies. They couldn't get any looser.

Re:stupid micromanagement (4, Interesting)

malsbert (456063) | about 3 years ago | (#37224464)

Thank you, I needed a good laugh.

The wast majority, Of child abuse cases, Involves one or both of the childs parents. If you add the rest of the immediate family, Almost all cases of child abuse, Is accounted for.

If you are afraid that a teacher will abuse you children, Then stop sending your children to Sunday "school".

Re:stupid micromanagement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224598)

Offenders can still send private text messages or other forms of communication.

Being a "friend" is not inherently a bad thing.

Classic case of good intentions gone too far.

It was the Slashdot summary writer and some other bloggers who claimed that the bill focused on "friending". In actuality, "friending" is not mentioned in the bill. Sending private text messages or other forms of communication are exactly what the bill was about, not "being friends".

Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37223956)

The jurisdiction that I'm licensed in didn't make electronic communications with students illegal, but the teacher licensing body did create a set of guidelines. Even though I don't entirely agree with those guidelines, they don't: force the disclosure of a teacher's electronic communications; dictate what types of services a teacher can or cannot use; or create absurd situations, such as the children of a teacher scenario. The worse that can happen for violating those standards is the loss of your teaching license, so you can still have a life outside of teaching if something does go wrong. (Assuming that you didn't go anything criminal.)

I would also like to see some education on the parental front. I would much rather a parent monitoring my communications with a child than my employer. After all, it is the parent who is ultimately responsible for the upbringing of the child and it is the parent who should be deciding the boundaries that other adults have with their children.

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224108)

You must be new to the USA.

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (1)

farnsworth (558449) | about 3 years ago | (#37224350)

I would also like to see some education on the parental front. I would much rather a parent monitoring my communications with a child than my employer. After all, it is the parent who is ultimately responsible for the upbringing of the child and it is the parent who should be deciding the boundaries that other adults have with their children.

While I agree with this, it is easier said than done. When I was a kid, I always a quarter in my pocket which I could use to call home or my parent's work. Today, there are simply no pay phones anywhere where my kids spend time (a big city in the USA). My kids don't have mobile phones yet (because they can't reliably use them yet), but when they do, they will have them on their person all day. How do you monitor phone calls/sms/web browsing in this scenario? Not a glib question -- I try to do a lot to monitor my children's online/tv/etc time. There are no private TVs or computers in the house; we talk about what it means to enter an email address into a Club Penguin form; etc. But at some point, they are going to have to go out into the world on their own, and they are going to have to have a way to phone home when they are in trouble. Am I supposed to do a data dump on their phones at the end of each day and interrogate them about mysterious SMSs that I find? I'm not really interested in that for many reasons...

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 years ago | (#37224606)

If you cant trust them to not abuse a mobile phone but you do want them to carry one, get one of the "kid friendly" mobile phones that can be locked down so they can only make/receive calls/SMS from "approved" numbers.

Or go with a carrier that lets you apply similar restrictions on incoming/outgoing calls at the network level.

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (1)

farnsworth (558449) | about 3 years ago | (#37225068)

If you cant trust them to not abuse a mobile phone...

It's not about trust, it's about allowing for the inevitable naive mistake without all of the dire or embarrassing consequences. It's about balancing communication capabilities against being confronted with new and challenging concepts. My kids know my phone number, they should be able to call me if they need help. I trust them to do that, and to not send inappropriate messages to others. But what if they get a creepy text from a peer? Or what if they send a poorly-phrased text to a peer who then misinterprets it?

I know I can cut off text, or simply not give them a phone at all. But the middle ground seems worth exploring, I'm just not sure how to do it. I really just wish I could give them a quarter, and trust that there is pretty much always a pay phone within an 1/8th of a mile. These days, it's "all" (iPhone) or "nothing" (crippled feature phone) or nothing (nothing). I'm not happy with any of those three.

I want to be able to send a 10-year-old out into the world (and I will most certainly do so anyway), but the concept that it's up to the parent to constantly monitor kids' activities and at the same time allow the kids to live in the real world seems to me to have an inherent logical flaw.

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224666)

Setting up some form of logging (that they are fully informed of) that doesn't require daily intervention (and you have the already-demonstrated good sense not to obsess over, or probably even look at most of), but you can access when needed, is not necessarily bad.

One possible method would be get them a data-only SIM, install a SIP client on their phone, and run your own SIP service for them (and you) -- as a bonus, you can wind up cheaper (potentially as low as the operating costs of the server, with all calls and texts free, if you take advantage of the right offers, different routing for sending/receiving, voice/SMS, etc.) this way. I haven't done it, because it's really a bit of work to set it up and, then keep on top of what VoIP providers are offering what services free, but amortized over a whole family, it could be worthwhile -- and then logging is at your discretion.

Of course, if your kids know you're logging everything, they will inevitably route some comms other ways -- payphones (if they can find them), their friends' phones, social networking sites, etc., so it's still no good for helicopter parenting, but if you're concerned about e.g. teachers starting predatory relationships with them, it could have some value.

Disclaimer: I'm not a parent, don't want to be (yet, anyway), and haven't studied for it -- therefore I make no claim that my ideas about parenting are particularly good. They are pure speculation devoid of research or experience, and the only thing dumber than yelling at me because I'm obviously wrong would be following my suggestions. ;)

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (1)

farnsworth (558449) | about 3 years ago | (#37225096)

Setting up some form of logging (that they are fully informed of) that doesn't require daily intervention (and you have the already-demonstrated good sense not to obsess over, or probably even look at most of), but you can access when needed, is not necessarily bad.

One possible method would be get them a data-only SIM, install a SIP client on their phone, and run your own SIP service for them (and you) -- as a bonus, you can wind up cheaper (potentially as low as the operating costs of the server, with all calls and texts free, if you take advantage of the right offers, different routing for sending/receiving, voice/SMS, etc.) this way. I haven't done it, because it's really a bit of work to set it up and, then keep on top of what VoIP providers are offering what services free, but amortized over a whole family, it could be worthwhile -- and then logging is at your discretion.

Of course, if your kids know you're logging everything, they will inevitably route some comms other ways -- payphones (if they can find them), their friends' phones, social networking sites, etc., so it's still no good for helicopter parenting, but if you're concerned about e.g. teachers starting predatory relationships with them, it could have some value.

Disclaimer: I'm not a parent, don't want to be (yet, anyway), and haven't studied for it -- therefore I make no claim that my ideas about parenting are particularly good. They are pure speculation devoid of research or experience, and the only thing dumber than yelling at me because I'm obviously wrong would be following my suggestions. ;)

Yeah, I know that's all possible, but I'm not going to do any of that. 1) I don't log or lock down their computer at all. It's in a common living space and they know the rules. They still make mistakes, though, and I help them through those. 2) I just don't have the time to do any of that. I can barely be bothered to check the "Parental Controls" box for their browser (mostly because I don't believe it will do any good, long-term). 3) Maintaining my own SIP network while I have a full-time job, multiple kids, as well as other important things going on? Forget about it.

Re:Maybe they'll search for a better solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225176)

Don't worry as soon as you said helicopter parenting your disclaimer was obvious

Not "the government" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224182)

This stupid action was taken by the state government of MISSOURI, not the Federal government.

It is actually a nice example of why all power should NOT be transferred to the states, which leave stupid blue laws on the books and continually do more retarded things, with even less care and oversight and accountability than the Federal government.

Re:Not "the government" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224304)

A Missouri court blocked a Missouri law and that somehow is an example of why states shouldn't be allowed to make their own laws? Or is it an example of why your'e a retard with no mental capacity? That was a rhetorical question, by the way. Retard.

Re:Not "the government" (2)

jdpars (1480913) | about 3 years ago | (#37224372)

The many states being allowed to have varying laws is actually shown to be effective here. Missouri tried something new and failed. The rest of the country can choose to take what happened here into their own decision making process. One state now suffers the consequences of passing a law like this, instead of the entire population.

bogus slashdot summary (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | about 3 years ago | (#37224228)

The slashdot summary is totally inaccurate. The law wouldn't "ban all electronic communication between teachers and students." This post [slashdot.org] explains what it would actually do. Basically they wanted to make sure parents have access to all electronic communication between teachers and students.

Re:bogus slashdot summary (1)

Eristone (146133) | about 3 years ago | (#37224334)

You are right - the summary should say "the law bans educators from using any tool not provided by the State for communications" as anything that doesn't allow parents to have access to all electronic communications between teachers and students is forbidden by the new statue. And being there are no exceptions, it makes it kind of hard to use any social networking site, now doesn't it?

Re:bogus slashdot summary (2)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 3 years ago | (#37224646)

You are right - the summary should say "the law bans educators from using any tool not provided by the State for communications" as anything that doesn't allow parents to have access to all electronic communications between teachers and students is forbidden by the new statue. And being there are no exceptions, it makes it kind of hard to use any social networking site, now doesn't it?

Your idea for a summary is just as inaccurate. Go read the actual law http://www.senate.mo.gov/11info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=4066479 [mo.gov] . Here, I'll help you since you're obviously too lazy to check your facts before posting up your uninformed opinion.

SECTION 162.069 - 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.

Taken literally, the bolded wording precludes a teacher from using facebook, twitter, gmail, and a whole host of other sites. This would be regardless of whether they interacted with a student on a work on non-work level because those sites ALLOW private communications. It didn't ban private communications, it banned the use of sites that could permit it. They couldn't even email their own kids unless they gave the school admins access to their email account. The law is poorly worded to address the issue they tried to correct (inappropriate private communcations between teachers and kids). The injunction was simply to stave off the enforcement of this section until a court could rule on the 1st amendment issues.

Re:bogus slashdot summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224690)

Full text of the bill can be found at http://www.senate.mo.gov/11info/pdf-bill/tat/SB54.pdf [mo.gov]

The summary above leaves a few thing out, but the fact remains that the law is vague, and inappropriately give the schools the authority to interfere with the first amendment rights of the teachers and students.

Re:bogus slashdot summary (1)

tumnasgt (1350615) | about 3 years ago | (#37226364)

As I read it, teachers would not only be unable to email their own children, they would be unable to be a member of an email service. Well, one that uses a web client. Using a Facebook application on their iPhone is fine, because the law specifies webpages.

Re:bogus slashdot summary (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37224788)

I guess either the judge should have read that slashdotter's post, or you should have read the judge's ruling. One of you is wrong.

Re:bogus slashdot summary (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#37224902)

Umm, no. "No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a non-work-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student." That's not out of context, either (although former only extends up to 18 year-olds.) Almost every internet site allows exclusive access, even if you somehow set it up so that content is supposed to be shared with parents (who, BTW, if a teacher are also forbidden from using such sites to contact their own children, and this according to the judge's ruling), it would still allow exclusive access. Hell, one could argue that simply using email allows such access (any email, period). Hyperbole? Not according to the judge. He says "the breadth of the prohibition is staggering", and would have "an immediate and irreparable harm."

He also refers to it as a "complete ban on certain kinds of communication." So, unless you are one hell of a lawyer, you are wrong. Plain and simply wrong. Note that the lawmakers may have intended to do what you say, but that's not what the law does.

Including their own children? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 3 years ago | (#37224338)

Does it actually state that anywhere? Because that has to be the most ridiculous part of the law.

Re:Including their own children? (1)

Nynaeve70 (2232514) | about 3 years ago | (#37224496)

Some school districts in Missouri (I live in Illinois, but get my news from St. Louis) were informing their teachers that it included their own children. To me, that is carrying things too far. This is from the article posted on KSDK: "The judge said the teachers' lawsuit had a good likelihood of success. His order noted that social networking sites are used extensively by teachers and that the law would have restricted online communications even between family members in which teachers are parents. "The breadth of the prohibition is staggering," Beetem wrote." Basically the law requires revisions, as I do not (personally) believe that any communication between a parent and their child or other minor relatives at a minimum needs to go through the parents' employer if the parent happens to be a teacher.

Re:Including their own children? (2)

six11 (579) | about 3 years ago | (#37224610)

Does it actually state that anywhere? Because that has to be the most ridiculous part of the law.

Reading the injunction (here [msta.org] ) it seems the original law does indeed prohibit parent/child association, and the court agrees with you that it is ridiculous. On page 2:

[the law states] "No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a non-work-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or or former student."

...

... Even if a complete ban on certain forms of communication between certain individuals could be construed as content neutral and only a reasonable restriction on "time, place and manner," the breadth of the prohibition is staggering. The Court finds at based upon the evidence adduced at the preliminary injunction hearing, social networking is extensively used by educators. It is often primary, if not sole manner, of communications between the Plaintiffs and their students. Examination of the statute indicates that it would prohibit all teachers from using any non-work-related social networking sites which allow exclusive access with current and former students. It clearly prohibits communication between family members and their teacher parents using these types of sites. The Court finds that the statute would have a chilling effect on speech.

So yeah, redonkulous.

Re:Including their own children? (2)

Rary (566291) | about 3 years ago | (#37224644)

Does it actually state that anywhere? Because that has to be the most ridiculous part of the law.

No it doesn't. It merely fails to make any kind of exemption for that situation.

Honestly, having read the bill, I found it to be mostly reasonable, but needs a few tweaks here and there. Most of the people who are all up in arms about it are basing their opinion of it on what bloggers have said about it, which is mostly inaccurate.

Re:Including their own children? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37224798)

Honestly, having read the bill, I found it to be mostly reasonable,

Except that the first amendment is incorporated (applies to state legislatures), and explicitly forbids legislation that restricts free speech in this way.

Be careful, not illegal (1)

TreeInMyCube (1789238) | about 3 years ago | (#37224398)

There are certainly tragic situations, where teachers have behaved unethically or immorally towards their students. In most of these cases, the students are the victims, and (as a parent) I can't truly understand the pain that those victims feel. But this is a situation for school-wide, or district-wide policies, not legislation. Making electronic contacts illegal will paint with too broad a brush, and not adequately control or deter those people who are trying to victimize another. Even teachers' unions can play a role here. The interviews I've read with teachers, and the teachers I've spoken with, show that those teachers who take their profession seriously, and value their relationships with their students, are already working within strong ethical guidelines. And those guidelines could be shared, and applied more widely.

Sexx with a sponge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224886)

AAple too. No,

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224906)

I really don't understand the value of this law. Teachers that would abuse their students have ample access to them without social media. Those teachers would not be deterred by their communication being illegal, considering they intend to commit a much more serious crime. Furthermore, I would suspect those same teachers would prefer to keep their communications private anyways. This law is not a deterrent, nor would it make catching molesters easier. At best, it would be one more charge to levy against a child abuser, at worst it could ensnare innocents.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 years ago | (#37225822)

Teachers that would abuse their students have ample access to them without social media.

Lack of an Internet didn't stop many a pastor from getting into the back of the church van with 15-year-old parishioners when I was in school back in the 70's. I see no reason to expect that lack of it as a communications channel is going change this now.

We'd accomplish heaps more by banning churches (or vans).

Or by doing something about the horrid American cultural mindset that says that guys should continue wanting to fuck teenagers when they're in their 30s,40s...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>