The Springfield News-Leader examines the Facebook bill in today's edition:
"I think that the problem is that the teachers -- which is 99.9 percent of teachers out there -- who use these tools effectively are being impacted by a small group of people who don't," says Zac Rantz, communications coordinator for the Nixa school district and president-elect of the Missouri School Public Relations Association. "Email and everything like that are just normal forms of communication between people."
Rantz goes on to say, "We understand and support the intent of the law, which is to keep sexual predators away from our kids and out of school, but banning them from Facebook, texting and email is not going to prevent that."
Vagueness of the law is the other issue, Rantz says: "Everyone is interpreting the law differently, which is part of the problem."
The law in part reads: "Teachers cannot establish, maintain or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and parents, or have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student."
Rantz says schools are waiting on legal counsel to tell them how to respond. Each district is responsible for drafting policy to ensure compliance with the law. But first, Rantz says, they need to know what the law means.
Some implications are fairly obvious: no more private email, instant messages via Facebook or text messaging. In an age when teens are more likely to text than pick up a phone, this could have an impact on the immediacy of communications between educators and students.