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Missouri Hedges On 'Teachers Can't Friend Students' Law

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the hemming-and-hawing-and-free-association dept.

Censorship 102

bs0d3 writes with an excerpt from an AP story, as carried by NECN.com: "Missouri senators took a step Wednesday toward repealing a contentious new law limiting online conversations between teachers and students, but stirred opposition from the governor by still attempting to mandate that schools adopt their own policies about online chats and text messages. The action by the Senate Education Committee comes a couple of weeks after a Missouri judge blocked the new law on teacher-Internet communications from taking effect because of concerns it infringes on free-speech rights."

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ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338866)

why do we even have these useless donkey turd excuses for humans?

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

nullCRC (320940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338906)

why does the child need to fucking friend a teacher on FB or vice versa?

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (3, Insightful)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338956)

That's not the point, the point "why does the child need to fucking be legally banned from friending a teacher on FB or vice versa?"

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

nullCRC (320940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339856)

It is the point. Why? There is no need. Dindn't need that shit growing up, don't need it now. I mean, really? they don't see them enough in school all day? The teacher is not supposed to be the kids "friend", they are supposed to be teaching kids, period.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37340032)

There are a lot of things that people don't need, and that opinion changes wildly depending on who you ask. Do you want someone legislating to you what they feel that you don't need?

Whether or not it is needed is entirely irrelevant. Lack-of-need is far from a requirement in order to establish a limitation on the freedom of expression. This legislation is very far reaching and impacts a great deal more than just whether or not two individuals are permitted to establish a "friend" relationship on Facebook. Using social media to establish an additional channel in order for students and teachers to conduct entirely appropriate communication is not uncommon these days.

Might as well ban the entire Internet. Afterall, on occasion unscrupulous people exploit it in order to carry out illegal or unsavory activities which also sometimes involves children. Not to mention, you don't actually need the Internet, right?

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37340098)

That's fucking idiotic. You could equally say "there is no need" to kids emailing teachers, IM-ing teachers, talking on the phone with teachers, sending letters to teachers, or ... talking to teachers while at the mall.

None of these things deserve to be criminalized by stupid laws.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340214)

Having access to children after school is the greatest advantage a teacher can have. Most of my teachers growing up would have killed for that kind of access simply because it allowed them to forward important thoughts and news articles along with homework and other assignments and offer help after hours. For the most part slashdotters are well-educated, white, and male which is essentially the least affected group. At-risk students would benefit from a caring teacher offering structure even if only through facebook.

The whole premise of the law has been to curtail access to students by teachers in the event of a strike or other civil strife. The more the Republican/Right-wing politicians control against civil servants the better in their mind. Of course making a law that was explicit to the strike/contract negotiations would have been too obvious so they went for an overall ban trying to argue about sex offenders and other strange things. Ultimately it's an attempt to keep the well poisoned for their goals and prohibit teachers from interacting with students as human beings.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37340730)

Not needing something doesn't automatically mean it should be illegal.

You don't need to drive to work. You could take the bus. And driving is the highest cause of death in America. So since we don't need it and it is dangerous, should it be illegal?

What about alcohol? Greasy food? Recreational sports?

There are all kinds of things we don't need. But we *like* them, and without a strong compelling reason to make them illegal, they should not be illegal.

You, sir, are an enemy of freedom.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340938)

You think that if the government decides you don't need something its ok to make it illegal. You Nanny State Government knows whats best for us Liberals make me ill. Why do you hate freedom so much. You would have been a good communist. "Nyet, nyet, we don't need our guns, you can take them, Comrade Stalin will protect us."

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (3, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341218)

You think that if the government decides you don't need something its ok to make it illegal. You Nanny State Government knows whats best for us Liberals make me ill. Why do you hate freedom so much. You would have been a good communist. "Nyet, nyet, we don't need our guns, you can take them, Comrade Stalin will protect us."

Woosh!

Liberals - Want to limit your rights to: speech that might offend someone, take risks for yourself, own things that look dangerous (firearms), do anything that might go against "its for the children"
Conservatives - Want to limit your rights to: speech that might offend someone, have sexual liasons with the same gender, own things that look dangerous (technology) do anything that might go against "its for the children"

Its not about left/right liberal/conservative or whatever the banned thing is, its all about control.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37345222)

Whoosh Whoosh. Exaggeration for effect!

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (2)

RearNakedChoke (1102093) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341238)

It is the point. Why? There is no need. Dindn't need that shit growing up, don't need it now. I mean, really? they don't see them enough in school all day? The teacher is not supposed to be the kids "friend", they are supposed to be teaching kids, period.

Oh. I get it. YOU don't see a need so it should be illegal? The world doesn't revolve around you. And really? "You didn't have it when you were growing up" is an argument? Holy shit. Let me enlighten your mind. Kids use facebook as a primary means of communication. "Friending" on facebook doesn't mean you're actually friends you fucking moron. It just means you can now communicate with each other. And since kids use FB so often, its one of the most efficient ways to communicate with the students and get instant responses.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37344262)

I'm in 100% agreement with you.

<humor>
I'll take what I just said back when a teacher hits on a student in the open, in writing, with 250+ "friends" on Facebook looking right at it.
</humor>

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37341296)

And look how you wound up, moron.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341326)

Why? There is no need. Dindn't need that shit growing up, don't need it now.

I know a lot of engineers that were taught to do math by sliderule. They say the same thing about MATLAB and my TI-89. They didn't need that electronic shit, why should I? What they don't seem to realize is that I can iteratively solve a list trigonometry problems in 1/0th the time it takes them to calculate one of those problems with a sliderule.

Moral of the story: technology changes shit. Just because your childhood was different than that of kids these days doesn't mean yours is somehow superior or even 'right.' You didn't need to talk to your teachers past school hours? Congratulations, here is your gold star. I know I, for one, would have killed to have a 24/7 chatroom available with my teachers so that I could get some help on all that PITA homework they assigned me to do on my own time.

The teacher is not supposed to be the kids "friend", they are supposed to be teaching kids, period.

That would be great if students were emotionless automatons that simply needed their memory caches written too. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they are not. My best teachers in all levels of my education (K-12 and college) are still some of my good friends to this day. If you trust the person instructing you, you are more open to learning from them. If your teachers know you better, they will be able to more effectively communicate an idea to you. There's nothing wrong with students friending teachers or vice versa. In fact, I'd openly lament any teacher that didn't want to get to know his or her students. You can learn a lot from young, idealistic kids you know.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

PoopCat (2218334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346086)

I can iteratively solve a list trigonometry problems in 1/0th the time it takes them

So it takes you an infinite amount of time to solve the same problem?

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

PintoPiman (648009) | more than 2 years ago | (#37342266)

Some of us are into the whole idea of "free country." Which means that doing what you want doesn't need a reason. Preventing you from doing what you want needs a reason. "Facebook didn't exist when I was a kid" is a pretty messed up reason to ban something.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37344202)

Lack of need does not constitute the need for preventative law.

If it were the case, caffeine would be illegal. So would clothing. And vehicles.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338958)

Believe it or not, some people actually are friends with their teachers, especially in smaller schools.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37348554)

Even more likely is if you went to school in a small town, it's likely that your teachers know your parents socially. Then it gets really awkward.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

renegade600 (204461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339048)

what if the teacher was a godparent, grandparent or other relatives? what if the teacher is a non custodial parent? Could also be scout leader, sunday school teacher, neighbor, etc... and there are other examples as to why kids have teachers as friends. The law was way too vague.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339196)

Why not? The whole "friending" thing on FB has nothing to do with real friendships. Its only meaning is to allow someone to see more of your profile. WTF has that got to do with friendship I'd never know.

Never mind that the U.S. culture has obscenely devalued the word "friend". Real friendships are rare, you can call yourself lucky if you have a dozen friends. Those would be people that you can share lots of your life with, and who truly help each other -- emotionally (lean on my shoulder) and physically (yeah, I will take care of your kids).

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339416)

Why does the gmail chat automaticly include your contacts in your 'friends' list.

Maybe the social networks should start to make levels:
0 = lover
1 = crush
2 = good friend
3 = friend
4 = family
5 = person I know, who I am social with on certain occations
6 = person I once met but rarely talk to.
7 = person I don't really like but it would be akward do de-friend this one

Some system like this might clarify some relationships

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (2)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339610)

Hey, and you could call those levels something like "circles" or "groups" to help you organize them. I bet someone looking to build a competitor to FaceBook would be interested in the idea.

On a serious note, stuff like this is largely why LinkedIn exists, and there's no reason you couldn't use LinkedIn for academic relationships. Of course, this would mean recognizing that LinkedIn isn't cool, but we all knew that already.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340638)

and there's no reason you couldn't use LinkedIn for academic relationships.

Because the kids don't use it. They use FaceBook and if you need to contact them, even over some official school business, that's where they'll be.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

PoopCat (2218334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346118)

What about the intersections of 6 & 1? or 4 & 7? Or for those in Alamaba, 0 & 4?

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339576)

Because, like it or not, social network technologies are important tools and it's in the interests of both students and teachers to understand and work with them, rather than pretend they don't exist and that schooling should continue exactly as it had in the 1950s. Even if (when) the technology changes, it's still a good idea to integrate and embrace it so that students and educators have some perspective on it and see how it evolves.

We already have professional ethics and regulations that cover what's appropriate/permissable/legal in these situations. Banning it is just knee-jerk "Gotta do sumfin" political showboating, and they're right to try and strike down the ban.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37340362)

And yet, the US educational system was the best in the world during the 1950s, whereas now it is a joke. I am, of course, not claiming that technology is the cause of the abject failure of American public schools, but neither is it the salvation. The perspective that we are so much smarter and better than the people of the past and that we must therefore change good teaching practices for "better" (aka newer) pedagogy, is a deeply flawed premise.

Rather than trying to chase the tail of new technology, shouldn't teachers focus their efforts on teaching that which is timeless or at least time tested? We can save the novelties for their elective classes.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Slyfox696 (2432554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340578)

And yet, the US educational system was the best in the world during the 1950s, whereas now it is a joke.

I'm sorry, but you lost me at this. Ignoring for a moment all the students who never advanced past high school, if they even finished it, are you really going to say the situations are even close to being the same? I have had brothers and sisters in the same grade who have different mothers. Kids are constantly being reshuffled from one family to another. Divorce rates are as high as ever. Drug use and alcohol use is no longer scorned, in fact, many times it is celebrated. The living environment children grow up in these days is much different than it used to be, no matter whether you think it is better or worse.

Not only that, children today grow up so much differently than they did in the 1950s. Kindergarten students come to school these days already owning a Facebook account. They grow up with a television and a computer and their iPads. They have cell phones in the third grade. They grow up in a society which is all about instant gratification, and that's all these students know. These kids grow up with constant stimulation, and they have always received that stimulation from technology.

While I agree that technology itself is not comprised of magic artifacts which impart knowledge without any other work being necessary, to assume that pedagogy shouldn't change as the children change is a far more flawed premise than one which preaches that children should be taught in a manner they are comfortable and familiar with, as well as one which will be necessary for the rest of their lives.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341272)

Could be the student's relative for one reason that took me a half a second to think of. I'm sure there are more.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37344452)

Why does anyone need to do anything? Maybe it's because they want to.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339078)

Another tea party slogan?

Talk about useless, 'the tea party' is just another name for social conservatives who like to whine about things rather than actually do anything constructive.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339556)

And the constructive things you are doing? Other than whining about people whining, which is even worse than someone whining.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339450)

To defend bankers, it seems.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339734)

why do we even have these useless donkey turd excuses for humans?

Because not enough Americans exercise their second amendment rights.

Re:ban politicians from talking to anyone. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340564)

It keeps them off the park benches across the street from the kids' playground.

After all: Its a serious case of projection to assume that 'friending' someone entails some sort of unwanted contact.

Wait for it... (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338938)

The exact same slashbots who are screaming about how unfair it is that teachers can friend students on Facebook will be the same ones screaming at the top of their lungs about Big Brother and the police state violating "privacy" rights when some stupid student posts pictures of himself committing a crime and the teacher reports it to the cops.....

It's all part of the I want all of my "rights" without ever having any consequences to my actions philosophy of Slashdot.

Re:Wait for it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339050)

That's they're problem. If one of my friends would post pics of himself committing a crime I would report him instantly. And it's the students choice to friend the teacher, I doubt schools will make that mandatory.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339060)

I don't think any online posts, other than those posted under a pseudonym or under anonymous, can claim to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. So please don't paint me with your cakey brush.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339102)

The Slashdot crowd response would be more like, "What an idiot, sharing the crime on FB for everyone to see". And a little few would say something on your lines, of course.

Re:Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339130)

This sort of stems from television and how it lies about doctor patient and lawyer client confidentiality. In reality in the US at least if you tell your lawyer that you are guilty of a crime he is required by law to tell the authorities or he could face disbarment or even worse. A psychiatrist is bound the same way. In the real world there are consequences for actions, but so many people online these days are trying to live in the television world that they deserve what they get. A teacher has ethical issues that need to be dealt with in a Facebook friending scenario. Personally I think Facebook friending should be discouraged for just those reasons. Something akin to Facebook needs to be used like say, Google+ where your circles are easier to manage and you can make special bogus accounts for you as a student or teacher separate from your private personal account. This will allow you as a teacher to communicate directly with students during any time of the day. As a student it means that you can ask questions of your teachers anytime and neither of you needs to worry about the other seeing a side of you parents may not love. Like students teachers are people and the things they post for their friends to see may not be appropriate for their students any more than the opposite. In addition to this the special accounts can be monitored and controlled by the school to make sure there isn't any inappropriate communications going on. The school could even so so far as to assign all students a Google profile with email and calendar with a name of their choosing, within guidelines of course. I don't know the full real solution, but outlawing something is almost never the right way. Let the districts make their policies and stay out of it except when law enforcement is needed.

Re:Wait for it... (2)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339278)

in the US at least if you tell your lawyer that you are guilty of a crime he is required by law to tell the authorities or he could face disbarment or even worse

You're horribly misinformed. AFAIK, the attorney-client privilege does not apply, based on content of communications, when you discuss taxes, how to commit a crime, how to avoid being caught, how to defraud another person. Otherwise, the content cannot be the reason to exclude the communications from the privilege, but there may be other valid reasons for exclusion of course -- reasons not based on content.

Re:Wait for it... (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339674)

Following on from your first point, a police officer is absolutely allowed to say "I'm not a cop" to get you to admit to a crime. He can also say things like "between you and me" or "off the record" and it means just slightly more than nothing, in that it means they think you're dumb enough to fall for it. A couple of things they can't do is entice you to commit a crime (entrapment) or break the law to obtain evidence (although a member of the public can). Nothing is off the record. Everything they say is to trip you up. In the US, do not ever talk to the police.

In the UK it's different. "Anything you say can be used as evidence" is different to "Anything you say can be used against you" and there is a special stipulation for not revealing information under questioning which you rely on in court. Over here, I'd say be polite and helpful, but lie through your teeth if you have to until you're cautioned or under arrest, in which case get a lawyer before you say anything else.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343912)

"Anything you say ...can be used...may be given... as evidence"

That's reasonable. After all, anything you can be used as evidence but it can go either way.

"Anything you say can be used against you"

That's just dumb, and it annoys me when I hear it. Not everything you say can be used against you:

Officer: ....
Suspect: Actually, I have an excellent alibi proving I wasn't there.
Suspect:
Officer: Ha! You're for it now! I'm going to use that against you!

See, it doesn't work.

Re:Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37345584)

The point is that anything you say to the officer that helps your case is hearsay; it does not stand up in court. Anything you say that hurts you is evidence and can be used against you.

tl;dr: avoid talking to the police.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

PoopCat (2218334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346226)

You can't rely on silence any more in the UK as a defence against implication.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37347868)

A couple of things they can't do is entice you to commit a crime (entrapment)

Depends on whether you consider presenting you with a golden opportunity as enticing or not. They can go rather far in presenting them, as long as you've shown the slightest bit of initiative or interest. Particularly they're allowed to alleviate all your fears, nobody will ever know and they're ready and willing. It's not entrapment if it's a secret desire you had, a tiny spark they've kindled into action. You may have even never played it out in real life before but you thought this time I'm getting away with it, I should really take the chance because there'll never come a better one than this. To prove entrapment you have to convince the judge or jury that they planted the idea in your head, that they weren't just presenting opportunities but pushing them, persuading you into doing something out of character. Very, very few entrapment defenses succeed.

Re:Wait for it... (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339368)

Are you oblivious? People should have a choice when they are giving up their privacy.

Facebook may be horrible as shit, but the unintended consequences of "protect the children" are massive.

More things teachers should not do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339038)

* Do not dress in condom costume at the school Halloween party.
* Do not send funny naked photos of yourself to your students depicting Washington Crossing the Delaware.
* Do not give lectures on the benefits of marijuana at the Do Not Do Drugs School Rally.
* Do not invite students back to your apartment for "extra study time".

Re:More things teachers should not do... (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339250)

condoms and teachers that reminds me of:

http://xkcd.com/463/ [xkcd.com]

Yes schools should come up with their own policies (3, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339076)

It's a good thing if teachers have a Facebook account that deals with class related issues, allows students to communicate about homework, ask questions, expand the subject, etc.

It's a bad thing if teachers have a Facebook account they use to buddy with their students simply to share pictures, schmooze, gossip and otherwise engage in behavior that is unbecoming a teacher.

The law is entirely unnecessary as this is a matter of professional conduct to be handled on the teacher level and administration level, not a state government level. Banning Facebook in this manner is like banning teachers from using email, telephones, Skype or any other technology to communicate appropriately with students. So you want teachers to remain teaching with nothing but in person voice, chalk and blackboard for the next 300 years?

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (2)

randomned (669691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339202)

This law was much more far reaching than just Facebook; it effectively prohibited ALL online communication between students and teachers. My mom is a high school teacher, and after the law was passed, they were prohibited from using their school provided email accounts to communicate to students via their school provided email accounts.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341164)

This law was much more far reaching than just Facebook; it effectively prohibited ALL online communication between students and teachers. My mom is a high school teacher, and after the law was passed, they were prohibited from using their school provided email accounts to communicate to students via their school provided email accounts.

At which point, your mom should've asked for IT to create a mailing list for the class, and thta all communications take place between on the list. Benefits include everyone in the class seeing problems, and parents and others are allowed to join in to offer assistance and other such things. Private problems can still be brought up in one-on-one sessions after class.

Honestly, if I was a teacher, I'd avoid one-on-one emails as well - the system is too easily stacked against teachers for stuff like sexual misconduct and the like, and it's way too easy for a student to make a false accusation that gets blown way out of proportion.

Maybe I'm just a traditionalist who thinks teachers using email and facebook for communications is strange (at best the parents had ot call the school to call the teacher - the only direct "access" I had was in class and before/after school). Heck, even in university most students automatically preferred to use the course website's forums rather than one-on-one emails with the professor, and have one-on-one sessions during office hours.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

randomned (669691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37342204)

Your solution for a mailing list wouldn't have worked; ALL online communication was prohibited, regardless of the medium or format.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

PoopCat (2218334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346278)

Curious (not trolling).. so if a teacher created a website with info related to their subject, and the li'l chilluns read said website, the teacher would be in violation of the law?

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

randomned (669691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346364)

According to the legal counsel for the school, probably... This law had a lot of unintended consequences.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343068)

Private problems can still be brought up in one-on-one sessions after class.

High school students rarely have enough time between classes to even get a drink from the water fountain, much less delve into private problems.

Honestly, if I was a teacher, I'd avoid one-on-one emails as well - the system is too easily stacked against teachers for stuff like sexual misconduct and the like, and it's way too easy for a student to make a false accusation that gets blown way out of proportion.

How is one-on-one face time any less likely to lead to false accusations than e-communication?

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (2)

Mordermi (2432580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339206)

I wouldn't say it's necessarily a bad thing for a teacher to friend a student as a "buddy". It is possible to have a student/teacher friendship and keep things professional. I did it when I was in school. I texted with one teacher that I had but I don't see it as unprofessional or unbecoming a teacher. She was like a mentor to me and she feels that I helped her become the great teacher that she is today and now we are good friends. In fact, if we weren't "friends" then I probably wouldn't be where I am today because that "friend" encouraged me to better myself.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339272)

Yes.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (2)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339296)

I agree. I'd think that a teacher should have a separate facebook account for use when communicating with students. There's really no reason for students to get insights into your personal life, or to see your family pics.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339474)

"as this is a matter of professional conduct to be handled on the teacher level and administration level" I agree with you. However the problem is that public school teachers are Government Employees, Unionized, and have a Tenure. A lot of extra protection that could allow creepy people to stay in the system. Giving less power to Administration.

Now for this article I am not saying Unionization, Tenure or being a Government Employee is a bad thing on the whole, but it does create a problem where you need Laws to step in to stop problems that for other organisational structures would be Unprofessional conduct where disciplinary actions may take place.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346460)

Why exactly do you think that being part of the union, having tenure, or being a government employee matters in matters of unprofessional conduct? All those things mean is that you get due process. They do not trump unprofessional conduct based on existing law which certainly covers inappropriate communication between a teacher and a student.

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

Plunky (929104) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339606)

It's a good thing if teachers have a Facebook account that deals with class related issues, allows students to communicate about homework, ask questions, expand the subject, etc.

If that requires that students also have a Facebook account, just to get access to the teacher.. then that would be a horribly wrong thing. (and my experience of facebook is that if you don't have an account, you can't actually use the site)

It's a bad thing if teachers have a Facebook account they use to buddy with their students simply to share pictures, schmooze, gossip and otherwise engage in behavior that is unbecoming a teacher.

Sharing pictures, schmoozing, gossiping and otherwise engaging in social behaviour.. thats exactly what social networking sites like Facebook are for!

Re:Yes schools should come up with their own polic (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340998)

It's a bad thing if teachers have a Facebook account they use to buddy with their students simply to share pictures, schmooze, gossip and otherwise engage in behavior that is unbecoming a teacher.

Ummm, why? There is nothing wrong with teachers being friends with their students and doing anything a normal human being would do (within the law and school policy obviously). If they abused it by taking advantage of their position of power, or something else then yeah, it's a bad thing, but I was friends with some of my teachers when I was younger. I did gossip with them, and sometimes see or show holiday pics and things, and these were the teachers I went to when I needed advice, for example when I couldn't ask my parents. Just because some fucker decides to abuse a system doesn't mean I should be punished for it.

radical concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339088)

Give them a logged and controlled environment for just the students, teachers and parents of a school zone. The problem with face book is that it exposes the student to not just the teacher but all of his / her friends as well.

Friending is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339096)

As people become more entrenched in theoretical process of running a school system, they tend to view any new technology as Salem community elders viewed witchcraft. Here is a brief explanation:

  • "Friend" is a cute name Facebook uses for the activity of allowing the exchange of messages and pictures. (unlike email, postal mail and pre "caller ID" telephones Facebook gives the receiver some control over who they can receive messages from.)
  • "Follow" sounds like something a stalker would do, but this is the Twitter equivalent of Facebook's "Friend".
  • "Add me to your email list" is the early 21st century equivalent for this activity.
  • "Add me to your email CC" is the late 20th century equivalent.
  • "Take this note home" is the historical equivalent, but like SMTP and UDP, there is no embedded receipt verification.

Re:Friending is... (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339702)

"Follow" is a bit overloaded. Twitter has a public/private tradespace where things get fuzzy. For public Twitter accounts, "Following" is something anybody can do without approval. I am unsure if the account owners can then block certain "Followers" or not. In any case, for private Twitter accounts, the term "Follower" is pretty much equivalent to "Friend" on Facebook because a request must be accepted. Conversly, "Following" on Google Plus is strictly public and there is NO WAY to block people from seeing what you post on your Plus Feed (which is more akin to the actual security model of the internet than the Faux-Security "Private" Social Networks.

In any case, strictly speaking, schools should attempt to use communication protocols that they OWN to facilitate interactions between students and teachers. Ownership of assets is important when shit hits the fan. Having Facebook control official student exchanges with teachers is bad. Now -- if the teacher is truly a friend of the student because (maybe) they live in the same town and have similar interests -- there shouldn't be laws preventing unofficial exchanges. As long as the teacher and student are aware that these interactions are no safer than text message exchanges when the courts want them... then I can't think of why this is inappropriate.

On the other hand, I know teachers who set their Facebook accounts to be private because they fear having their students discover their private lives and see personal information about them. And yes... teacher's posting negatively about their students on Facebook risk having those posts made public and put their jobs on the line.

Unintended consequences (1)

randomned (669691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339178)

My mom is a high school teacher in Missouri, and this law has far reaching effects, not just with regards to Facebook. For one, the school district provides students and teachers email addresses in order to facilitate school related communication between the two in regards to homework, etc. My mom would have students email their papers and assignments regularly. Not anymore, according to this law. What about school clubs wishing to create a Facebook page or other online presence? If it's a school-sponsored club, the school can be held liable for anything put online, yet the faculty sponsor would be putting him/herself at risk by accessing the page to ensure that everything's ok. Our legislators need to stop trying to legislate for every little thing, and start ensuring that our government has the resources it needs to enforce the laws we already have.

A completely unnessary and regressive law. (2)

ericbrow (715710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339266)

As a (former) teacher living in Missouri, this law is horrible. It comes from school administrators around the state going out of their way to not do their jobs. This law came about because of a fear of a teacher going from district to district who molests children, and uses electronic media as one of his tools. If there is a teacher who gets asked to find a job somewhere else because it is suspected that they have molested a student, it is the job of every school district employee to report this person. This reporting is legally mandated, and anyone found having knowledge of molestation who holds a job as a mandatory reporter can and should be held liable. I once worked in a district where the band teacher was suddenly arrested for having sex with students. I was livid. If he had been in the building when I found out, I would have kicked his ass into his office and kept him there till the police came. Any district that doesn't investigate such things should be held liable, and any administrator who suggests a teacher find another district in which to molest students should lose their job and license as well. I say regressive because most students are well ahead of the school districts in terms of making regular use of technology. This just discourages teachers from using technology further. I can't tell you how many times we've been able to plan accordingly because my kids were able to text their coach or teacher about an upcoming event to make sure we weren't late, or planned to be out of town.

Re:A completely unnessary and regressive law. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339496)

It sounds like the Missouri school system has the same problem as the Catholic Church.

Re:A completely unnessary and regressive law. (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 2 years ago | (#37344194)

It's similar across the country. There was a band teacher who was having sex with one of the students at my high school back in the day. This particular guy was smart enough to make sure she was 18, and got ousted from the district ("voluntary resignation") instead of prosecuted.

Bizarrely enough, I was googling around trying to find his name, and found out that this has happened somewhere around 5 times since I graduated. My old high school has terrible judgement when it comes to hiring band teachers.

Schools don't get technology (3, Insightful)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339378)

The schools are running scared. School IT admin seems to lag everywhere by a generation or two or three. We're going through the latest round of IT snafus in our school system as the year begins, and it's really quite sad.

I think the blanket "protective" rules are aimed at setting up bright lines that any idiot can administer without really dealing with the human beings involved or reflecting on how porous technology makes communication to anyone determined. Seduction (in either direction) is a *social* problem not tech, and sure wasn't invented recently. These rules won't stop the problem, they're just a way of the schools burying their heads in the sand instead of dealing with the content of the problem. It's like relying on curfew to stop teenage pregnancy. Preventing abusive relationships is an education topic, not appropriate for some idiotic 50's notion that the key is to prevent the communication of "bad ideas" -- or than the medium generates the ideas!

School IT admins (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340538)

And what exactly are school IT admins supposed to do about facebook etc?
How about when an irate parent comes in and starts screaming about how little Johnny put up something nasty about little Bobby on facebook...
after school hours...
on a home computer...

What do you want to do?

When you've already banned FB and a few dozen proxy sites, but kids still find other proxies or just use their own smartphones.

What do you do?

When you catch kids doing sh*t on the network that is obviously against policy...
You can't permaban them because "computers are needed for schoolwork" ...
The school can't enact punishment because the previously I-don't-give-a-shit parents suddenly explode at the school admins if their little darlin' actually gets a reprimand...

what do you do?

School IT admin isn't as behind as you might think. It *is* often chronically underfunded compared to other areas, but that funding comes from tax dollars.

The problem is you have way too many people screaming for a technical solution to a social problem, mainly because if it were addressed as a social problem they'd have to deal with it themselves.

Re:School IT admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37341066)

I agree with you. The problems are real. The tech part is a distraction. The problem with kneejerk reactions like censorship (1) they cause more harm than necessary and (2) they tend not to work, while also inviting complacency. The correct technical measures are not impossible but they do take some expertise. Saying "no email" is much easier and relieves the school of a big liability problem, at least it seems to. On the other hand, failing to supervise things completely is pathetic, too. No porn in K-12.

I feel bad for the school IT depts because I know the problems are legitimately difficult and they often don't get the equipment and people they need. And many of the kids are smart and determined. But then I run into the bizarre arrogance and laziness of (some of) those in IT management—a side effect of their incompetence—and lose sympathy quickly. They aren't necessarily badly paid or inadequately respected. Some don't work to improve things becasue it's safer to let stuff fester until it breaks and avoid responsibility for upgrades. Some have simply risen higher than their abilities, as often happens in bureaucracy. One of the wireless networks had the password "password" .... I wish I was kidding. Well, the kids appreciated being able to watch videos in class. the thing that also ticks me off is the technophobe parents and *other* administrators who don't realize they're being sold BS.

My basic point: The sex problem is a sex problem. Not social media. Deal with it.

Re:Schools don't get technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37347762)

At an IT administrator for a school district there are plenty of ways to contact students without using the trash that is Facebook. Second why the heck are they using Facebook in school, shouldn't they be doing something more productive with their class time? Third, you better lawyer up and read what states like NJ are doing when it comes to bullying. If a kid does any type of online bullying it's now also falls on the school district to do something about it. Last, talking to your students on Facebook is sorta like running into them at the mall. It's awkward and maybe a bit embarrassing.

I know I lost this war. Today, I had a 30 minute meeting with school administrators on the topic of mass wireless tethering. One kid sets up the tether and 20 people hop on to check Facebook, tumblr, and youtube. The conclusion was we can't do anything to prevent this but we have to make a "best effort" to do something when they are caught in an harmful or bullying act.

"friend" is a verb now? (2)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339468)

I enemy this.

The real issue... (4, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339522)

The real issue is that the law does/did nothing to protect students from predatory teachers. Missouri also has a law that if a sign is posted banning hand guns in a facility, then you can't bring them in. Like the facebook law, this law also does nothing to protect people from somebody intent on doing harm (maybe the signs are made out of kevlar).

The real problem with these types of laws are that they are emotional based to give the appearance that something is being done, when in reality, they provide little if any protections to the people they purport to protect. With regards to the facebook law, now only did it not add any real protection, but it was a poorly crafted/worded law and banned all kinds of electronic communications between teachers and students, far more than friending somebody on FB.

Ironically, under the law as it stood, it was a criminal offense to email a student or former student but not send them an actual letter. Interestingly, since the law applied to all school personnel, not just teachers, it also meant that guidance counselors, nurses, etc., could not communicate with the students electronically. Makes it kind of hard to send out information regarding scholarships, too.

The law could have avoided all of this by only restricting communications that would not be outside of the realm of what constitutes normal communications between a school employee and a student. That way, a counselor creating a FB page regarding scholarships information or when recruiters will be at the high school would not be illegal.

In effect, that is what the legislative committee is recommending -- that these types of decisions (ie acceptable use of electronic communications) be set on the local level by local authorities.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it doesn't require the government to do so.

Re:The real issue... (2)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339786)

The law could have avoided all of this by only restricting communications that would not be outside of the realm of what constitutes normal communications between a school employee and a student. That way, a counselor creating a FB page regarding scholarships information or when recruiters will be at the high school would not be illegal.

I grew up before the days of Facebook, but I had a few teachers that I'd consider friends. Isn't a close relationship between teacher and student something to be celebrated? A friendship with a teacher can lead to great things. Let's not try to destroy that over "think of the children" nonsense.

Re:The real issue... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340546)

I thought the "no handguns" signs were a response to lax gun laws which say you can take yer gun anywhere, not an attempt to stop gun crimes. Feel intimidated by a visibly armed redneck? Well, unless you posted a sign saying he couldn't bring a gun into your business, he's not doing anything wrong. it's not going to stop a robber, obviously, but it might help ensure you're not accidentally shot by someone playing hero.

Re:The real issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37340852)

it also ensures that any violent criminal will not be shot by someone BEING a hero.

Re:The real issue... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343122)

I feel safer with zero bullets flying in close proximity to me, regardless of how heroic one of the shooters is.

Re:The real issue... (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 2 years ago | (#37344274)

Why do you assume a sign will prevent criminals from carrying guns?

Re:The real issue... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346402)

To quote myself: " it's not going to stop a robber, obviously, but it might help ensure you're not accidentally shot by someone playing hero."

Re:The real issue... (1)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37345626)

The point is that the sign doesn't have any effect on that. If someone wants to shoot up a school, a sign isn't going to stop him.

Re:The real issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37342040)

I'll take the visibly armed redneck over a robber any day. I'll also take said redneck in my business when the robber comes in. I'm OK with cleaning up another's blood. ;)

Re:The real issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37343732)

I'd prefer to give the guy my wallet than take my chances on a quick-draw. In the words of Heavy, "I have yet to see anyone who can outsmart bullet."

Governmental . . . . (1)

bogidu (300637) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339572)

. . . . attempts to legislate fads are a really BAD idea.

pff (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339900)

You do not need a law to preent you from doing it to not do it.

this wont go anywhere (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37340690)

if only for the fact that it erodes a recently established missouri law that permits teachers to consider and present "alternative theories" of sciences such as evolution in the class as a form of free speech.

Lets see how this washes... (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341474)

I have a very close friend who is a flaming liberal. I am a pretty ultra conservative. We get into all kinds of fun debates. Fine. She is a teacher.

She has a multitude of student facebook friends, many under 18, many in her class or have been in her class who view her as a role model and intellectual. She is very prolific about her position, politics and social issues on facebook. I would think this is probably ok in the current atmosphere.

What if she was an ultra religious conservative preaching the 4,000 year old earth 2nd coming of Jesus bit to all her students via facebook. Would it still wash when little Jenny asks mom why her family is going to hell for not accepting Jesus as their savior?

Re:Lets see how this washes... (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343164)

> Would it still wash when little Jenny asks mom why her family is going to hell for not accepting Jesus as their savior?

Sounds like the perfect time for little Jenny to get The Religion Lecture from mom, whatever flavor that lecture takes. Public school is not an excuse for parents to farm out all education and discussion of morality, ethics, and belief/skepticism.

Re:Lets see how this washes... (1)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37345690)

It's Missouri. It'd be more likely that someone would complain if she were arguing that same-sex marriage should be legal.

Re:Lets see how this washes... (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 2 years ago | (#37346540)

This would not be considered best professional practice in all states (friending students). It is strongly suggested in my state that teachers do not have facebook pages. If they should choose to have them, they should be private, and students should never be friended.

It is an excellent way to lose your job.

A Canadian perspective (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341488)

One of my daughter's teachers from last year has an email form on his teacherweb site.
Her current teacher (different school) gave them a long lecture that email assignments need to be sent from their parents' account since she will not even open an email that looks that it was sent by her student.

Different strokes.

Re:A Canadian perspective (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37341832)

I wonder what this is supposed to accomplish? Making sure that the parents know the assignment was done?

Of course, it's a rather lousy method given how easy getting a different email address is today, nor that 'most' people stay logged into their email accounts - kids starts up family computer sends out email using parent's account. Done.

How about (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 2 years ago | (#37343022)

having a police officer escort each teacher around school to make sure they don't talk to students about anything but homework? If they as much as MENTION that they're having a good/bad/etc. day, they can just be arrested on the spot for having a personal conversation with a student. Cuz we all know teachers aren't people, and if the students found that out, jeez....what would happen next? I can see a huge playground orgy involving teachers and students right now.

Preventing all teachers from being able to talk to kids online is like priests being forbid to marry. It just magnifies and mutates the problem until the ones who actually ARE pedophiles (I'm optimistically guessing this is a minority of teachers) find a way around it to satisfy their urges.

Rock, paper...... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37344484)

It's akin to making the use of pencils and pens illegal because of the ability to use them as weapons.

The tools and means for criminal activity will always exist; the key is to remove the desire for them and to isolate the individuals who cannot control themselves from harmful desire.

It's unfortunate but realistic news, people... If someone wants to do bad, they're going to do it. One thing that is a psychological fact is that when you make someone feel that they aren't allowed to do something, they are more likely to opt into doing it. I needn't cite references to back that statement up.

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