Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In The News- Making Facebook Illegal for Teachers to Speak to Students.

I've heard about this recently while on vacation the last two weeks. It is becoming increasingly more and more common for teachers to not being allowed to  talk to past or current students on internet sites like Facebook. Where I live it is still allowed for students to friend and speak to thier students online. In fact, for some classes we need to be able to speak or friend our teachers. For example, the freshmen are suppose to do a book talk and one of the options is to make a facebook page for the book. So in order to see this page our teachers have us friend them or send them the link.

Anyways, in a recent Yahoo! artcile, a teacher sues Missouri because a new law makes it illegal for her to contact her kid online. According to Yahoo!:
The law, which has been nicknamed the Facebook law, prohibits teachers from having exclusive communications with students over non-work Internet sites. Students are defined as anyone under 18 who attend or used to attend the school where the teacher works.
But while this teacher and parent faces this delimia, not everyone seems to think that this new law is such a bad thing. This new law is suppose to fight teacher sexual harassment and abuse. And in a way, I agree with this law. I just read an article in Seventeen magazine about teachers who sexually harass their students.

One girl in the article said that at first the teacher was nice, and he listened to her when she was having a hard time at home. Eventually the messages and conversations went into the personal area. And while her mind screamed that this was bad, she ignored that voice and went over to the teacher's house.

Eventually the teacher turned out to be over protective and he would get angry a lot at her. One point the girl said, she had gotten a boyfriend and when the teacher found out, he wanted the girl's boyfriend to share her. The girl said no because she didn't want to cheat on her boyfriend. Later on, the girl became depressed and she told her parents about it. Her parents were mad at first, being parents, but then they sued the teacher for sexual harrassment. The teacher was fired, went to jail, and was labeled as a sex offender.

The news article also quotes one professor who says that being able to talk to studdents online isn't nessary to a student's education. And I can see the truth in that, it isn't all that important for teachers to be able to talk to students online. And although that makes sense, there's the issue that some students feel and trust their teachers to talk to them about important stuff.

For example, a student going through depression or abuse may feel more comfortable telling a teacher about it then a parents or some other adult figure. And this student may feel more comfortable telling the teacher online rather than offline because the student may not want to rish other people hearing about it. So if this student who is too shy to apporch a teacher about something important offline, now can't talk to the teacher online.

The other issue I see is that if you're going to make it illegal for a student to talk to a teacher online, then it should be illegal for a student to talk to a teacher over text messages or the phone. But if you do that, then how is a student to contact a teacher if they need homework help? Of course the student could talk to their friends about the assignment, but what if they're unsure too?

Read this article: Teacher sues state over "Facebook Law".

So what do you think about this issue? Should it be illegal for teachers to contact students privately online?



  1. I could understand while being a student in class, but once you've graduated and you're gone? You still can't be friends with your teachers? That's a bit controlling.

  2. It said in the news article that is only applied to students younger than 18, but I know in some states you can't ever friend your teachers on facebook. And I think it is controlling too, the government shouldn't really be telling us who we can and cannot be friends with.

  3. Well first off, I'm going to be a teacher soon and this has been my plan from the start: I will hide (or if necessary, delete) my facebook account from my students. I do NOT want to see what they are posting, and I don't want them to see things like bikini pictures of me at age 14 (You'd think that would be cute and funny, but my body hasn't changed since then and it's not going to, so it's just weird). I WILL, however, set up a Twitter account specifically for their benefit: I will tweet quick reminders and notices of homework assignments and tests and the like. They can follow if they want, or just have the url at the ready to check when they need to.

    That way, they have some way to keep track of me and a way to contact me through one of their sites without things getting too messy and awkward and personal.

  4. That sounds like a good plan! And yeah, it would be akward seeing pictures of your teachers. I know that some students don't friend thier teachers because they don't want them seeing what they post. I really like the twitter idea, that's cool. I kinda wish my teachers would do something like that.


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