Legal FAQs

In this section you'll find commonly asked questions about some legal issues around sexuality education. Questions and answers are geared toward public school professionals although much of the information will also be relevant to others. We hope you find this section helpful! If you have a question that is not answered here, email ask@getrealindiana.org.

Click on the next to a question to view the answer in a pop-up window.

General Questions About Sexuality Education

  • What can I do if I don't feel like I've had enough training or have current and comprehensive enough curricula or materials?
  • What can I do if a student asks a question that I either don't have the knowledge to answer or feel comfortable answering?
  • What federal law or statute authorizes education about sexuality?
  • Which federal monies does Indiana receive to teach about sexuality?
  • How does that money get distributed?
  • What might happen if a school board takes abstinence-only money but doesn't really provide a program that meets the federal 8-point guidelines or the Indiana state guidelines?
  • What Indiana state law authorizes education about sexuality?
  • Does Indiana have an opt-in or opt-out policy regarding sexuality education in public schools?

Minors' Sexual Activity & Reporting Issues

  • What is the age of consent for sexual activity?
  • What sexual activity am I mandated to report?
  • What sexual activity by a minor does not require reporting?
  • When is consensual sexual activity considered child abuse in Indiana?
  • Why is the age of consent for sexual activity different from the age at which minors can access reproductive health care services on their own?

Minors' Health Care Consent Issues

  • Who can consent for health care for minors?
  • What other situations allow or require you to give others access to a minor's medical information without requiring you to seek parent or minor consent?
  • Who controls access to medical information?
  • Can individuals be held liable for revealing confidential information outside the exceptions listed in federal or state law?
  • What exceptions limit access to medical information about minors?
  • Is information in the medical chart and provider notes confidential?
  • Is information in mental health records and provider notes confidential?
  • Do the medical records I provide Child Protective Services or the police remain confidential?
  • How should a subpoena or other legal request for confidential information be handled?

Abuse & Neglect Reporting

  • What constitutes abuse or neglect?
  • When must I report child abuse or neglect?
  • What if I am not sure that abuse has occurred?
  • How and to whom should reports be made?
  • Will my report be confidential?
  • For the purposes of child abuse reporting, does a mandated reporter have a duty to try to ascertain the ages or identities of the minor's partners?
  • What information do I include in my report?
  • What will the Department of Child Services do after I make my report?
  • Will the police be informed of any child abuse reports I make?
  • In a case involving consensual sexual activity between minors uncovered during an abuse/neglect investigation, who if anyone might be prosecuted?
  • Will I receive any further information about my report and client/student?
  • Can individuals be held liable for making reports?
  • Can individuals be held liable for not making reports?

Religion & Sexuality Education in Public Schools

  • Is it constitutional to teach about religion in the public schools?
  • I thought the U.S. Supreme Court said we couldn't have religion in schools. Did I miss something?
  • Can I teach about the Bible in a public-school curriculum?
  • Can I teach about the Qur'an, Torah or other spiritual texts in my public school classroom?
  • How should I teach about religion?
  • Can I discuss religion in my sexuality education class?
  • How do I respond if students ask about my religious beliefs?
  • What are good classroom resources for teaching about religion?

Protecting School Personnel in the Public School

  • Can I be dismissed from my position at the school for teaching about sexuality?
  • I'm worried about a student suing me for sexual harassment or saying that I was inappropriate toward them. What can I do to minimize the chance of this?
  • Could I be dismissed for talking to a student one-on-one about a sexuality or sexual health concern?
  • Are my one-on-one conversations with students about sexual health issues confidential?
  • What legal obligations, if any, do I have to inform a student's parents about any conversation I may have with their child about sexuality or sexual health?
  • Can I be sued by a student's parents if they don't like the advice I gave their child regarding a sexual health issue?
  • What if students start asking questions about my personal and/or sexual history?
 
 
 

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