Legislative committee, education groups reach compromise on social media

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | 4:08 p.m. CDT; updated 4:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 7, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — A compromise has been reached between a Senate committee and education groups allowing school districts to make their own policy regarding teachers' electronic communication with students.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a measure to repeal the new law that restricts interaction between teachers and students on sites such as Facebook.

New wording would allow districts to create their own policies regarding communication. It also broadens the wording to include all employees and not exclusively teachers.

Mike Wood, a representative of the Missouri State Teacher's Association, spoke in support of the new wording.

"Everybody wants to make sure our students are protected and that they have a safe environment to be in when they're in our school districts," Wood said. "And we think this new language accomplishes that by giving the control back to the local districts and not putting undue restrictions on policies that school districts may develop."

The MSTA filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jay Nixon after signing the original bill on July 14. A Missouri judge issued an order last month blocking the new state law from taking effect.

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