Legal and Ethical Issues in School Counseling Essay

Legal and Ethical Issues in School Counseling Essay

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The topic of this paper focuses on the battles school counselors face as the law and ethical standards collide. School counselors face a number of legal and ethical issues and recognizing a clear decision isn’t always easy. School counselors have to work with a large number of students, parents, and administrators while conforming to ethical codes, state laws, and school board guidelines. This topic is of great relevance to me as I will be going into the school counseling profession. It is also a meaningful topic to me because life-changing decisions are made every day in reference to legal and ethical issues. Researching this topic has shed some light on the difficulty for school counselors to fulfill both legal and ethical requirements. The main reason for this is that laws and ethical codes may sometimes provide differing and contradictory messages regarding the same subject. This can lead to legal ramifications, even while following ethical norms as we will look at in the example case of Woodlock v. Orange Ulster B.O.C.E.S. (2006/2008).
In Woodlock v. Orange, the school counselor, known as N.W., was advocating for systemic change on behalf of her special education students. This was well within the code of ethics. N.W. was repeatedly expressing her concerns to the administrative intern and principal. Her primary concern was a lack of certified gym and art instructors, which violated state special education mandates and the children’s IEPs. She raised other safety concerns to the administration with little to no response. She began to document all of her interactions with the administration, leading to a written reprimand issued to her by the principal. This reprimand stated that N.W. was “taking it upon yourself t...

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...l Counselors. Professional School Counseling, 195-202. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from
Kress, Victoria, Drouhard, Nicole. (2006). Students Who Self-Injure: School Counselor Ethical and Legal Considerations. Professional School Counseling, 203-208. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from
Moyer, M., & Sullivan, J. (2008). Student Risk-Taking Behaviors: When Do School Counselors Break Confidentiality?. Professional School Counseling, 11(4), 236-245. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from
Stone, C. B., & Zirkel, P. A. (2010). School Counselor Advocacy: When Law And Ethics May Collide. Professional School Counseling, 13(4), 244-247. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from
Devoe, Andrea. Personal interview. 8 Apr. 2014. Weaver Middle School, Merced Ca. 209-723-2174

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