The challenge to the law is constitutional, and works like this: (1) You rights as set for in the bill of rights, such as freedom of speech, only protect you from violations by the state (government); (2) In cases of clear violations (a law limiting freedom of speech) the state can justify their encroachment by showing the law is needed (meaning it is really important) and that there is no lesser intrusive manner of achieving the purpose. And the fact is we do this all the time. Take for example laws preventing people from inciting riots in a public place. While the law clearly limits speech, it is clearly more important that public safety be maintained, and there is no lesser intrusive way to do that then stopping the source of the riot.
That being said, law makers are faced with a big problem. Social media has become the nightclubs of our generation. The only problem is that you don’t need an ID to get in and lying about your A/S/L (Age/Sex/Location) is not only easy, but common. And let’s not pretend it isn’t easier to say those things you would never say in public. And to go along with it, there exists a photo album of pictures limited only by the discretion of the poster and a rating system that is less than perfect.
On the flip side, social media outlets have provided the type of contact and at home interactive tools that teachers have been wishing for. Being able to communicate changes to assignments, monitor progress, and conduct out of class discussions on course material has never been so easy. Tools that were only available to military and major corporations 20 years ago, has now become so common place that we all contain it on our phones.
Therein lies the rub. When in conflict, does a person’s right to free speech override the states duty to protect children and teachers from inappropriate contact? Governor Nixon and Judge Beetem seem to think so. And they may find themselves confronted by dozens of parents whose children have become victims of these social media sites. At any level, this debate is far from over.
If you are a teacher or a student that has been affected by this law or has found yourself in the middle of a social media scandal, then I would suggest finding an attorney. Harris Law, LLC has experience in dealing with the criminal face of this topic and is ready to advise you on your rights. Keep this in mind, social media crimes often times result in a sex crime charge. These types of charges are generally felonies and may result in a person registering as a sex offender for life. What makes matters worse is that sex crimes are often times based on false allegations. Go to http://www.harrislawonline.com/ to learn more about your rights.http://www.harrislawonline.com/