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18 August 2011

Denison: Clarifying Intent of Student Protection Act, MoDOT Road Work

“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clarifying the Intent of the Amy Hestir Davis Student Protection Act

I mentioned in a previous report the Amy Hestir Davis Student Protection Act [SB54] that was passed this year to protect students from the few unscrupulous individuals who unfortunately exist in the teaching profession. One portion of that legislation has recently been the subject of a great deal of discussion in both the media and among educators. The section in question limits online communication between teachers and students to communication that is open to both parents and schools. Teachers have raised concerns that the provision will prevent the use of Facebook and other electronic mediums that are used commonly to keep in touch with students. The truth is that the new law does not outlaw the use of Facebook but instead prevents the use of private messages, chat, restricted wall posts or other communication that happens where a parent cannot see.

It’s also important to note that the law simply requires schools to establish a policy to address this issue. We believe they can do that without severely hampering the ability of a teacher to effectively communicate with students. As the Missouri State Teachers Association, which supported the bill, said in a recent blog post, “What teachers need to know right now is that the law does not bar appropriate use of text messaging and social networking sites. Schools will have to address the question of what is appropriate and what is inappropriate when they establish a policy that is required by this law.” The intent of the law is to make sure communication between teachers and students is an open book so that any inappropriate communication is prevented. If we find the law we passed makes it difficult for good teachers to do their jobs, we will revisit the law and find ways to modify so that we get this important provision right.

In the District

I was very honored to present a 50th Wedding Anniversary Resolution to James and Sybil Osborn at a special celebration to commemorate their Golden Wedding Anniversary at Central Assembly of God Church on August 12, 2011. James and Sybil have three children, and five grandchildren.

Following is the work being accomplished this week on two of the road construction projects in Springfield. The information is from MoDOT:

Route 60/65 Interchange Reconstruction, Springfield

  • Building crossovers in median of Route 65 on either side of Route 60 between old northbound lanes and southbound lanes
  • Hauling in rock and dirt to build new westbound lanes of Route 60 leading to new bridge over railroad tracks west of Route 65
  • Building columns for new eastbound and westbound Route 60 bridges over railroad tracks west of Route 65
  • Demolishing old westbound Route 60 bridge over Galloway Creek west of Route
  • Sealing new section of widened eastbound Route 60 bridge over the James River east of Route 65

Route 65 Six-Laning Project, Springfield

  • Pouring median barrier walls at various locations between Chestnut Expressway and I-44
  • Installing road signs in various locations between Sunshine Street and I-44
  • Pouring concrete for soundwall footings on west side of Route 65 between Gasconade Street bridge and Route 60

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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