NEWS

From the Office of

Representative Jeanie Lauer

54th District

For Immediate Release:

August 15, 2011

              CONTACT: Rep. Jeanie Lauer

573-751-1487

Rep. Lauer Announces “Amy Hestir Protection Act” To Become Effective Aug. 28

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, wants citizens to be aware that Missouri’s “Amy Hestir Protection Act” or the “Facebook” Law will become effective on Aug. 28.  The law is named after a student who was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher. The teacher was subsequently hired by numerous school districts before retiring.

One requirement of the new law is that all school districts must adopt policies relating to student-teacher internet communication, and that these policies must be adopted no later than January of 2012. Communication on the internet between students and teachers cannot be exclusive or private, and must be accessible to parents and administrators. New policies may allow communication between teachers and students that is not private, such as a classroom webpage or a teacher’s non-private classroom Facebook page.

"It's important that our state's laws stay up to date with the emerging trends of society,” Rep. Lauer said.  “It's in the best interest of our children that the lines aren't crossed in student-teacher relationships, and this law is an integral precautionary measure in the age of social media.”

The law also requires criminal background checks for teacher applicants, allows school districts to share information with other districts regarding sexual misconduct by their employees, and makes districts liable if they fail to disclose information regarding misconduct upon request by another district.  The bill was supported by the Missouri State Teachers' Association, Missouri National Education Association, Missouri School Boards Association and the American Federation of Teachers of Missouri.

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