The Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) has filed a lawsuit on Friday against the new law that prohibits teachers from being Facebook friends with their students.
The lawsuit is filed asking specifically, the Circuit Court of Cole County to explain the constitutionality of the law's social media portion, and keep that section of law from being implemented unless they do so, zdnet.com report stated.
Senate Bill 54, or the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act has been introduced with the purpose of protecting children from any inappropriate contact between teachers and students, including sexual misconducts.
The law is named after Amy Hestir, who was repeatedly molested by a teacher years ago in a Missouri Public School.
The law prohibits teachers from any kind of personal communication with students, including chatting over the Internet, text messaging or social networking.
Many of our members are concerned about the unintended consequences of this law, including their ability to monitor their own children's online activities. It's vague and more importantly, we believe it violates the constitutional rights of educators, Gail McCray, MSTA Legal Counsel, said in a statement according to the report.
The law infringes on educators' first amendment rights of free speech, association and religion, MSTA argues.
According to court documents, Plaintiffs have used and are using non-work-related social networking sites as an important avenue for contact with students, both during emergencies and for everyday educational issues, such as when a student has difficulty with a classroom assignment or identifying bullying. Senate Bill 54 makes it unlawful for Plaintiffs who are also parents of a child in the school district to communicate with her student/child via a non-work-related social networking site if there could be exclusive access, states the lawsuit.
The Senate Bill 54 will be effective in Missouri from Aug. 28, 2011, though it is still unclear if social networks will have a part to play in the enforcement or if the personal computers of the teachers and students are going to be monitored through their IP addresses.