Missouri Bans Teacher/Student Facebook Friendships

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There are a lot of exciting ways to break the law (international money laundering! treason! running guns!); as of August 28, though, there will be a brand new boring way to get in trouble, at least in Missouri:  becoming Facebook friends with your teacher.

The idea behind the law (Missouri Senate Bill 54) is to minimize inappropriate contact and to “more clearly define teacher-student boundaries.” And while it’s pretty obvious that some boundaries shouldn’t be crossed (ie, buying beer/weed for your high school students), others are trickier to parse.  Combine that with the internet’s ever-expanding archive of embarrassing material, and it’s sometimes hard to say what teachers can and can’t do. Should a good teacher be fired for writing about a past stint as a sex-worker? For posting Facebook photos of herself with a few drinks? For favoring objectionable (to some) bumper stickers?

So, will banning teacher/student Facebook friendships help create those boundaries? Or will it just keep teachers and students from forging stronger bonds, both in the classroom and out of it?

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