Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, just can't understand why anyone is interested in her little old Facebook bill. In an article from Reuters, Mrs. Cunningham points out that the state teacher organizations failed to voice any objections to the bill until after it had been signed by the governor.
Cunningham said teacher organizations supported the broader bill when it passed and did not raise concerns about the teacher-student Internet contact provision until recently.
Teacher organizations may have supported the bill but the provision concerning social networking, which apparently also includes everything from e-mail to texting, was never presented to rank and file te teachers.
As I have pointed out before, the Facebook provision was never covered in the media as far as I have been able to determine, except for a report done by Gretchen Bolander of KODE in Joplin. It was never mentioned in MSTA or MNEA legislative reports.
In the Reuters article, Mrs. Cunningham says the problem is with misinformation that has been provided about her bill, but her answers to media questions indicate that either the misinformation is coming from her or that she has no understanding whatsoever of social networking:
"I've been working on this bill or four years, and all of a sudden the whole world is interested in it," said Cunningham, a St. Louis Republican.
"It's gotten a lot of attention because of misinformation," she added.
Teachers can still befriend students on Facebook or be in other Internet contact as long as the sites are open to administrators, parents or others, she said.
Allowing strictly private contact between teachers and students has proven to lead to some secret, improper relationships, she said.
The new law restricts texting, e-mails and website contacts.