Ethical Issues for School Counselors

The Ethical Issues for School Counselors Ethical issues arise more often for school counselors than for those who work in other settings. The challenge of working not only with minors but also with other stakeholders including parents, teachers, school administrators, and community members sets the stage for potential legal and ethical dilemmas. Awareness and adherence to ethical codes, therefore, is critical if school counselors are to make appropriate, ethical decisions. This article enhances school counselors’ knowledge of ethical codes by using actual cases as submitted by school counselors.

The issues are presented in a quiz format for further discussion and relate each scenario to particular ethical codes. The school counselor’s primary obligation is to the student. This includes advocating for students, defining the role of the counselor, and adjusting work assignments so student’s needs are met. Regular meetings between school counselors and school principals have been touted as effective catalysts towards redirecting assignments that are counterproductive to student needs. It seems apparent that school counselors need viable methods to educate themselves about ethical conduct as well as to educate other stakeholders.

Realistic scenarios are often difficult to encounter and might assist in the aforementioned tasks. This article was written to aid school counselors as they seek solutions to ethical dilemmas as well as to provide a nonthreatening format in which to enlighten principals and parents about appropriate responses. This article utilized the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics (2005) and American School Counselors’ Association (ASCA) Ethical Standards for School Counselors (2004) to arrive at answers at the ensuring discussions.

While conclusive answers follow scenarios in the cases, the quiz was written to offer an opportunity to evaluate knowledge of current ACA and ASCA codes of ethics and facilitate discussions concerning other appropriate alternatives. Answers were provided to help school counselors take a proactive rather than reactive stance when similar events occur. The ethical issues described in the article were submitted anonymously by school counselors practicing in the panhandle of Texas. These cases were not solicited; rather, counselors sent them to counselor educators at a local university so they might receive consultation.

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It is hoped this examination aids school counselors in the creation of proactive future plans when faced with ethical situations. Because no written quiz can offer indisputable answers, additional strategies are need to overcome difficult ethical dilemmas. The quiz can aid counselor educators as they strive to deepen ethical discussions in school counseling courses. As stated in class each person has the right to receive the information and support needed to move toward self-direction and self-development.

Each person has the right to understand the full magnitude and meaning of his/her educational choices and how those choices will affect future opportunities. Special care should be given to students who have historically not received adequate educational services: students of color, low socio-economic students, students with disabilities and student with non-dominant language backgrounds. The Standard G. Maintenance of Standards states that, professional school counselors are obligated to take appropriate action when they see the standards are not being followed.

That being said, counselors must have knowledge of codes of ethics as well as local, state, and federal laws; school policies; seek consultation; and stay informed of changes in order to make ethical decisions. Being fully informed helps school counselors be prepared in situations that demand careful judgment and protect the welfare of the children within the school. This quiz and the strategies mentioned previously can be a useful tool in achieving this goal. Reference Froeschle, J. F. Crews, C. C. (2010). An ethics challenge for school counselors. EbscoHosthttp://www. ebsohost. com

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