Big Brother is Watching You
(Statesman Journal) - Salem-Keizer teachers and staff were recently told that when they learn, or suspect, a student is sexually active, they must report it to law enforcement or state officials.
Some students, teachers and parents are upset with the requirement, so much so that more than 550 people signed a digital petition to Paul Kyllo, the school board chairman, demanding the practice be stopped.
The requirement falls under Oregon's mandatory reporting and child abuse laws. They're meant to protect children, but the district's clarification of the law is being criticized for being applied to sexually active, consenting teens.
Under Oregon law, any person younger than 18 is unable to give consent, so any sexual activity is considered abuse and needs to be reported.
But most school districts in Oregon don't require teachers and other staff to report students believed to be having sex. The Statesman Journal contacted districts around the state, from Portland to Eugene to Bend, and none followed mandatory reporting to this degree.
Kimberly Schott, a student at McNary High School in Keizer, said it's really about trust. She fears the requirement leaves students without an adult at school they can confide in.
"This leaves students with no one," Schott wrote in the petition she spearheaded. "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 lead to several more issues."
More than 40 percent of high school students said they have had sex in a survey by the Center for Disease Control. In Salem-Keizer, more than 11,800 students are in that age bracket.
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