The Salem-Keizer School District in Salem, Oregon, is requiring all of its employees to report teens, who are having consensual sex, to state officials.
The teachers were told at a staff training to notify the state even if they happened to overhear a rumor that someone “hooked up,” notes KOIN.
The school district cites a state law that says sexual abuse — not consensual sex — must be reported to the Department of Human Services if there is “reasonable cause that a child with whom the employee comes in contact has suffered abuse by another school employee or by a student….”
That law has nothing to do with consensual sex, but the school district notes that Oregon law says people under 18 are unable to give consent. The school district claims that any sexual activity is thus considered abuse and needs to be reported to the state.
School district spokeswoman Lillian Govus falsely claimed to KOIN that the police would not investigate sexual abuse claims against teens:
Simply reporting to the state doesn’t mean police are going to be knocking on the door of students. What it does allow for is an abundance of caution in ensuring that our children are safe.
Oregon Education Association President C. John Larson countered:
The problem with the guidance from Salem-Keizer is that is throws confusion into the mix. We want to make sure our students are protected, they need to be safe and they need to feel safe but they also need to feel like they can have conversations with their parents or with educators in situations where it may not be a mandatory reporting situation.
Deborah Carnaghi, a program coordinator for Child Protective Services in Oregon’s Department of Human Services, told the Statesman Journal: “You can’t have a conversation about safe sex without talking about sex.”
A Change.org petition has been launched against the policy, and notes that teachers will have to report their own sexually-active kids:
The teachers of the Salem-Keizer school district are being forced to report everything to DHS involving any sexual activity with students and even their own children (if they attend school in the district). If it is found that teachers have withheld any information regarding this topic they may be fined and potentially lose their job.
This leaves students with no one. The students no longer have that safe teacher they can talk to. Instead the students must find a way to be sneaky and hide so that they don’t get reported, which could leave to several more issues. On top of this, the Teachers are losing their right to parent their children.