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'Facebook Law' Violates Rights, Missouri Teachers Argue In Lawsuit

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 22 2011

The Missouri State Teachers Association filed a lawsuit Friday that argues a new Missouri law, banning private communication between teachers and students on social media, violates free speech and other rights, Reuters reports:

School districts statewide are being required to adopt new policies to comply with the law beginning January 1, but the Missouri State Teachers Association said in its lawsuit that banning social media contact is unconstitutional.

"The act is so vague and over-broad that (teachers) cannot know with confidence what conduct is permitted and what is prohibited and thereby 'chills' the exercise of first amendment rights of speech, association, religion, collective bargaining and other constitutional rights," says the lawsuit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in the state capital of Jefferson City.

Here's my first look at the law, called the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act. The bit about communication between teachers and students away from public scrutiny is just one part of the law, which was written and passed in response to a series of incidents in which Missouri teachers were fired for sexual misconduct. Some of that conduct, the AP previously reported, involved online messaging.