As social media becomes more and more popular, experts are hoping it merges with as many professions as possible. In the state of Missouri, it appears as though social media and education will have an “it’s complicated” relationship rather than be considered “married.” (Check the nearest Facebook profile to understand that reference.)
According to a new Missouri Senate bill, teachers and students will not be allowed to have direct contact via any social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.). In other words, teachers and students cannot be Facebook friends or Twitter followers. The bill, questioned by many who find social media to be an easy-yet-effective way to converse with anyone, was signed by Gov. Jay Nixon and goes into effect Aug. 28.
The bill is expected to identify and delineate teacher-student boundaries because inappropriate relationships, sexual misconduct and/or other inappropriate behavior between students and teachers have become more of an issue within educational systems nationwide. It has been said that the bill affects only direct social media contact; teachers still will be allowed to create public-setting pages (an open Facebook page, for example) that all of their students can access.
I expect this to be a very interesting discussion topic within schools and school districts nationwide. For starters, social media is how many of our youngsters with cellphones communicate (besides texting). Let’s also keep in mind just how well social media has integrated within certain school systems. Some schools use e-learning software platforms that practically serve as social media tools for individual classrooms, such as the popular course management system Moodle.
What are your thoughts about this bill? Facebook now has more than 750 million users. Should the bill have been passed? Would you support or oppose such a bill in your state? Are school administrators protecting their students or overreacting to isolated situations between students and teachers? Please sound off in the comments below!