Missouri has passed a new law in an effort to protect children from sexual predators, banning student - teacher friendships on Facebook. The 'Amy Hestir Student Protection Act', is named for a former Missouri student who was molested by a teacher decades earlier increases penalties for school districts that fail to report abuse or past abuse in a timely manner. 

The law also bans any private social relationships between students and teachers on any web based social network. Teachers can still set up social networking pages for class use or program support as long as the site is publically available to all including administrators and parents.  Some Missouri teachers feel this may discourage students from talking with teachers about certain issues that would make them uncomfortable talking about face to face. They also feel that facebook is a valuable tool students and allows them to communicate more freely. It will be interesting to see if any other states follow Missouri's lead.