Should Teachers Be “Friends” With Students? Proposed NJ Bill Would Regulate Electronic Communications

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Communication between a child and a teacher over the internet tends to make parents and school administrators uncomfortable.  As social media like Facebook continues to become a common form of communication, laws regulating it are inevitable.

In New Jersey, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz has taken the lead in addressing the use of new technology in the schools by proposing legislation requiring a clear statement of school policy on the subject.   There are currently no formal restrictions against electronic communications between students and school employees in New Jersey.

Senator Ruiz’s bill, S1458, is a non-invasive approach to creating a safety net for students, teachers and parents without placing government restrictions on the internet’s brand of free speech.  Her bill requires school districts to adopt policies concerning electronic communications between employees and students but does not mandate any state imposed bans.  

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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