According to Missouri Senate Bill 54, it is illegal to “like” your teacher on Facebook, and vice versa. In Fact, any social networking is now prohibited between teachers and students.
This ban on “liking” includes not only Facebook, but any social network “that is exclusive and allows for private communication,” according to ABC News.
How did this measure come about? Obviously, someone overstepped their bounds. And we’re pretty sure it was a big, bad teacher, not a sweet, innocent child.
Mashable notes that “inappropriate contact between students and teachers is at the root of the legislation,” which is “designed to protect children from sexual misconduct by teachers.”
So how has this been received? The law certainly seems to give the peculiar message that teachers are not to be trusted, and Mashable reminds us that we did learn from Weiner never to underestimate how sloppy adults are when concealing inappropriate behavior online.
At the same time, some find the law misguided. Randy Turner blogged that the law was signed “in spite of the positive effect that teachers and students being Facebook friends had on Joplin Schools’ effort to locate students after the May 22  tornado [and] in spite of considerable evidence that social networking has been a positive force in education, and little or no evidence to the contrary.”
But the law is not entirely restrictive. The “direct contact” part is key to the prohibition; ABC notes that, “for example, a teacher cannot be friends with a student on a private Facebook profile where you can pick and choose friends and send private messages, but teachers can set up a fan page.” Nonetheless, smart Missouri teachers will just stay off Facebook altogether.