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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Legislature Could Take Up Mandatory Reporting Issue

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Joe Wolf
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Flickr - tinyurl.com/z8o86qr

An Oregon lawmaker said she’ll introduce a bill next year to clarify that consensual sex between teenagers does not need to be reported to state authorities.

Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser made the announcement in a Facebook post Tuesday.

This comes in response to a policy in the state’s second-largest school district that requires all district employees to report cases of sexual activity involving students under age 18—even when it’s consensual. The policy has come under fire from critics who say it could prevent students from approaching teachers for information about sexual health.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools spokesperson Lillian Govus told OPB’s Think Out Loud Tuesday that it’s up to lawmakers to fix the mandatory reporting law.

“We have to follow their law,” she said. “And we cannot be the ones to judge the intent of our lawmakers.”

Govus said the district applauds efforts by students to change the law.

Other large school districts contacted by Salem’s Statesman-Journal newspaper said they do not interpret the current mandatory reporting requirement as applying to sexual activity among consenting teenagers.