JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A new Missouri law prohibiting teachers from having private online conversations with students suffered a double setback yesterday.
First, a judge blocked it from taking effect because of free speech concerns. Then the governor called for its repeal.
The law, which limited teacher-student conversations through social networking sites such as Facebook, was scheduled to take effect tomorrow. But Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a preliminary injunction blocking it until at least February, saying the restrictions “would have a chilling effect’’ on free speech rights.
A couple of hours later, Governor Jay Nixon said he would ask lawmakers to repeal the restrictions during a previously scheduled special session that starts Sept. 6. Nixon’s request goes even further than the judge’s order, which was confined to private conversations on websites that are not related to work.
The governor also wants lawmakers to reverse restrictions on work-related websites and abolish a requirement for schools to develop written policies by January on teacher-student communications.
Nixon, who signed the legislation last month, said yesterday that the provisions about online communication are “causing substantial confusion and concern among teachers, students, and families’’ and thus should be stricken.