From The Associated Press: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation repealing a contentious law that had limited online chats between teachers and students. Nixon's action eliminates a law enacted earlier this year that barred teachers from using websites that allow "exclusive access" with students or former pupils age 18 or younger. The law generated an unexpected backlash, with teachers raising concerns they would be barred from using popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter that allow private messages. A judge temporarily blocked the law shortly before it was to take effect in August, declaring that it "would have a chilling effect" on free-speech rights. Legislators voted overwhelmingly to repeal the restrictions. But the new bill also requires school districts to develop their own policies by March 1 on the use of electronic media between employees and students
SEPTEMBER 2011...from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Revisions to a law restricting Internet communications between teachers and students have passed the Missouri House on a 139-2 vote. Gov. Jay Nixon now must decide whether to sign the legislation. Last month, a judge blocked the original law from going into effect last month, citing concerns that it infringed on free-speech rights. The law that the legislature approved earlier this year contained provisions prohibiting teachers from having private online conversations with students.
From The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Missouri Senate has unanimously approved revisions to a law that regulates electronic communications between teachers and students. The new bill removes provisions that prohibited teachers from having private online conversations with students. Instead, local school districts must develop their own social media policy by March 1, 2012. Those policies must include "the use of electronic media and other mechanisms to prevent improper communications between staff members and students." The changes come in response to a judge’s order that blocked the law from taking effect because of concerns that it infringes on free-speech rights.
AUGUST 2011...From The Kansas City Star: A judge has blocked a law from taking effect that regulates how Missouri teachers communicate with their students on Facebook and other social media websites. In addition, Gov. Jay Nixon said he will ask lawmakers during a special session next month to strip out the law’s most controversial provisions, including the one the judge ruled on. Judge Jon Beetem said the new regulation — intended to protect students from sexual predators in schools — would have a “chilling effect” on free speech rights.
EARLIER...From Yahoo.com: A teacher in the Ladue (Mo.) school district has sued the state over a new law that prevents teachers from contacting their students over social media sites such as Facebook. Christina Thomas's class-action suit argues that the law would make it illegal for her and other educators to chat with their own children over Facebook. Last week, the Missouri State Teachers Association sued to challenge the law, known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act. Thomas and other teachers "reasonably fear that they could face disciplinary action if they communicate with their own children on Facebook or other websites that allow for exclusive communication," the lawsuit contends.
Read the lawsuit.