Sunday, October 30, 2011
Missouri court issues preliminary injunction barring state from enforcing new teacher social networking law
Missouri State Teachers Ass’n v. State of Missouri, No. 11AC-C00553 (Cir. Ct. Mo. Aug. 24, 2010) is a very interesting state court decision out of Missouri. A Cole County Circuit Court has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State of Missouri from enforcing that portion of § 162.069.4 RSMo., which states: “No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a non-work-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student.” Finding that the breadth of the law’s coverage is “staggering” and that social networking is utilized extensively by educators, the court concluded that the law would have a chilling effect on speech. It also concluded, given the fundamental right implicated, that the “chilling effect” would be sufficiently immediate and irreparable to support the injunction.
This would have been an important decision to watch. Frankly, I am surprised it has not attracted more media attention. However, the matter has been resolved by the legislature. (See above post).
Mitchell H. Rubinstein