Missouri "Facebook" law
11:24 am
Fri August 26, 2011

Missouri judge blocks Facebook limits for teachers

Updated 4:19 p.m. with comment from the Missouri State Teachers Association and Missouri State Sen. Jane Cunningham, the sponsor of the original bill which became law

From Todd Fuller of the Missouri State Teachers Association:

“It’s a sigh of relief for all teachers throughout the state who use social media, and it allows them to continue to use it in the positive way that they’re already using it and continue to interact with their students the way they have been.”

From Missouri State Sen.  Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, who sponsored the bill.  She acknowledges that there’s been confusion over what the restrictions will and won’t do, and says she has a solution:

“We have come up with some language that we feel like is ready to go…we don’t need to punt for more input, (I’m) not opposed to it, but we’ve got some agreed upon language with the stakeholders and we’re ready to clarify that language.”

Updated 1:11 p.m. with Gov. Nixon's action

Gov. Jay Nixon says he will add the teacher Internet issue to the agenda for a special legislative session that begins Sept. 6. Nixon says he wants lawmakers to repeal the new law.

His Friday announcement came shortly after a Missouri judge issued a preliminary injunction (see below) blocking the law from taking effect as scheduled on Sunday.

Updated 11:32 a.m. with link to full ruling

A Missouri judge has blocked a law restricting Internet communications between teachers and students from taking effect Sunday.

(You can read the full ruling here).

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a preliminary injunction against the law Friday, calling it a staggering prohibition of free speech rights.

The judge's order puts the law on hold until at least February, allowing time for a hearing on whether the law should be permanently blocked.

Previously, the Missouri State Teachers Association filed suit against the law.

The Missouri law would have barred teachers from using websites that give "exclusive access" to current students or former students who are minors.

That would have meant that communication through Facebook or other social networking sites would have had to be done in public, rather than through private messages.