Teachers across Missouri (U.S.) have an extra chore before the new school year begins: purging their Facebook friend lists to comply with a new state law that limits their contact with students on social networks. The new law forbids teachers from having “exclusive access” online with current students or former students who remain minors, meaning any contact on Facebook or other sites must be done in public rather than through private messages. The law was proposed after an Associated Press investigation found 87 Missouri teachers had lost their licenses between 2001 and 2005 because of sexual misconduct, some of which involved exchanging explicit online messages with students. But many teachers are protesting the new restrictions, complaining the law will hurt their ability to keep in touch with students, whether for classroom purposes, personal problems, or even emergencies.
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