Your Teacher Is Not Your Friend

The state of Missouri (I know this is the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, so usually I just ignore it, but this is interesting) recently passed The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, a 35 page law that seeks to protect students from teachers who have sexually assaulted students. Included in the bill is a provision that prohibits a teacher from becoming a Facebook friend with a current or former student. The bill doesn’t say “Facebook” explicitly, but the language would sweep that activity into its prohibitions. Take a look at page 15 on the link. I get the need to protect students and I get the idea that maybe teachers should use some judgment about “friending” students. But I am a little concerned that the bill is so sweeping, especially given that it applies to contacts between teachers and former students. I’ve seen teachers serve as mentors to their former students. That seems like a relationship that is pretty worthwhile. I’m not sure why a state legislature would feel the need to make that relationship off limits.