Lawmakers vote to repeal Mo. Facebook law

Sept. 24, 2011 at 3:05 PM
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Missouri lawmakers have passed a measure repealing a law that banned most private communications between teachers and students on social media sites.

The bill approved Friday would also require school districts to adopt their own policies by March "to prevent improper communications between staff members and students" on social media sites such as Facebook, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.

Gov. Jay Nixon would not say whether he'll sign the bill, which some lawmakers say could be unconstitutional because it goes beyond the governor's original request for legislators to repeal what has been dubbed the "Facebook law" during a special session.

"We need to interact with some local school boards and some individual teachers to see what their thoughts are," Nixon told reporters. "It appears that they've (lawmakers) gone in a broader focus than what my intent was when we brought folks to town."

Opponents said the part of the bill requiring school districts to adopt their own policies could allow the districts to illegally block communications between teachers and students.

"We are going to ask the governor to veto the legislation," said Gary Brunk, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri. "It could be a nightmare ... These local districts could be all over the place, including (enacting) some things we really don't like at all."

Hundreds of teachers and some students had criticized the Facebook law, which was challenged in a lawsuit, and a judge blocked it during the summer.

The House passed the repeal measure 139-2 Friday. The Senate had passed it earlier 33-0.

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