This story is a follow-up to an article we wrote previously this week. The “Facebook Law” as it has been commonly called would have kept teachers from engaging in private conversations with students on social networking sites, via email and text messaging.
A preliminary injunction has been issued by the presiding Circuit Court Judge, and the matter will not be settled until February, 2012. Presiding Judge, Jon Beetem, stated the law would “have a chilling effect” on free speech. Beetem went on to say that “The breadth of the prohibition is staggering.” The injunction prohibits the State from taking any action to enforce the new law, and teachers can’t be disciplined for engaging in private communications that would have been banned under the new statue.
The Missouri State Teachers Association and individual teachers challenged the law. Their contention is that social networking sites have become such a vital component of communication with parents and students, and to prohibit this method of interaction would violate their Free Speech. Another issue with the bill is that it was so loosely written, in that it would bar online communications between family members if the parent was also a teacher.
Teacher want to work with legislators to revise this portion of the legislation. Lawmakers are not set to reconvene until next year, so there is plenty of time to come to a proper resolution, according to Gail McCray, an attorney for the teacher’s association. Other parts of the bill are still in effect and are not being challenged.