An Oregon school district wants its employees to report any sexually-active teenagers to the police, saying that state law requires them to do so, even though no other school district in The Beaver State has such a policy.
As San Francisco Gate reported, faculty and staff in the Salem-Keizer school district, where more than 40,000 students are collectively enrolled, have recently undergone training that requires them to report any student who is sexually active, or whom they suspect is sexually active, to police or state officials.
Training materials handed out to the employees gave several examples of situations which would supposedly necessitate a call to authorities.
“A 14-year-old boy confides in you that he was kicked out of the house after his parents discovered that he was in a same-sex relationship. During the conversation, the student shares that he has engaged in sexual acts with his partner.”
Salem-Keizer officials say that, because Oregon law says that persons under 18 cannot consent to sexual activity, anyone under 18 who is having sex is committing a crime or being victimized. Due to mandatory reporting laws, they must notify law enforcement in such cases.
That’s an extremely narrow interpretation of state law, considering that a) teenagers have been having sex with each other for as long as H. Sapiens has been a species; b) no other school district in Oregon has taken such an interpretation; and c) most states, Oregon included, have so-called “Romeo and Juliet Laws,” which are specifically intended to protect teenagers from being criminally charged for having sex with each other, according to Legal Dictionary.
District spokeswoman Lillian Govus says that the draconian rules are to ensure the students’ safety.
“What [this policy] does allow for is an abundance of caution in ensuring that our children are safe.”
However, not everyone sees it that way.
Deborah Carnaghi, a program coordinator for Child Protective Services in Oregon’s Department of Human Services, believes that the new policy will discourage teenagers from asking adults honest questions about safe sex.
“You can’t have a conversation about safe sex without talking about sex.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by a district teacher, who asked to remain anonymous.
“Teachers are also being told to establish appropriate adult-student connections so that when students come to school they feel safe and cared for. If students have a trusted adult at school that they need to talk with about sex, I see no problem with teachers being that.”
At least one student in the district is not pleased with the policy, either. Junior Angel Hudson, added her name to a petition calling for the policy to be removed.
“Talking about sexual activity between teachers and students should be confidential.”
Govus, however, said the policy will not change.
“For our employees to remain compliant with the law as it is written we must report and that goes for any school district employee must report any sexual activity between minors.”
[Featured Image by Dobo Kristian/Shuttersock]