Ethics for the School Counselor. Gloria Montalvo, Ed.D, LPC, CSC Diana Villarreal, M.S., LPC, CSC

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1 Ethics for the School Counselor Gloria Montalvo, Ed.D, LPC, CSC Diana Villarreal, M.S., LPC, CSC

2 What is Ethics? Ethics is the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation (Webster, 2012). Ethics are agreed-upon values, norms, customs and mores that have withstood the test of time (Fischer & Sorenson, 1996) (Stone, 2009)

3 What are Ethical Codes? Ethical codes and behavior are the result of values within a profession or organization bind those who, by membership, ascribe to them (Stone, 2009).

4 What are Legal Standards? Legal standards are laws that are passed by federal and state legislators and are interpreted by judges to set the minimum standard or guide that a society will accept (Hermann, Remley, and Huey, 2010).

5 Where are laws found? The US Constitution Federal statues State statues Case law Judge made law (common law) State codes or regulations School Board policies

6 To which Ethical Codes do Texas School Counselors adhere? Texas Administrative Code Title 19 Education Part 7 State Board for Educator Certification Chapter 247 Educators Code of Ethics

7 To which Ethical Codes do Texas School Counselors adhere? Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors About the Profession-Code of Ethics American School Counselors Association Ethical Standards for School Counselors

8 Three Ethical Standards Topic SBEC LPC ASCA Define the association Tenets of association Purpose of standards Deceptive practices Misuse of funds or equipment for personal gain Borrow money Accept gifts

9 Three Ethical Standards Topic SBEC LPC ASCA Record Keeping Guidelines for Solepossession records Follow laws and policies Good moral character Possess proper credentials Limitation of credentials Outline treatment plan: purpose, goals, techniques Rules for group work Data driven evaluation of program

10 Three Ethical Standards Make action plan for success Collaborate with professionals Career awareness and postsecondary plans Evaluation, assessment and interpretation Drug use Topic SBEC LPC ASCA Reveal personal information about colleagues if required by law Make false statements Fair to colleagues (sex, race, etc.)

11 Three Ethical Standards Topic SBEC LPC ASCA No retaliation against complaint filer Confidentiality as required by law FERPA Collaboration Transfer of information (suicidal ideation) Limitations (age or developmental) Confidentiality limitations in group or classroom guidance Informed consent (Limits to confidentiality)

12 Parents rights Duty to warn Three Ethical Standards Topic SBEC LPC ASCA How to warn about fatal disease Danger to self or others Fair to students (sex, race, etc.) No physical abuse or neglect Sexual/romantic contact ` Duty to report sexual misconduct Disciplinary action for failure to report sexual misconduct Dual relationships

13 Three Ethical Standards Topic SBEC LPC ASCA Offer services to another s client Make appropriate referrals Release information Provide drugs to students Appropriate use of technology Cyberbullying Inappropriate communication with use of technology Cost of treatment Inform of any changes Terminate treatment

14 Three Ethical Standards Topic SBEC LPC ASCA Report changes to personal data Inform client on how to report professional violations Rules for establishing practice Rules for advertising practice Responsibilities to school, communities and families Responsibilities to self Responsibilities to profession Contribution to profession Decision making model

15 Case Study You have noticed that one of the counselors in your office has been grumpy, has been rude to students, and has ignored requests for counseling. You have noticed weight loss and hair loss in this person. You have observed unfocused behavior at department meetings, and another colleague complaint that this counselor has failed to cooperate on a joint assignment. These behaviors are contrary to this person s usual behaviors.

16 What is a Moral Principle? A moral principle is a belief that demonstrates right behavior and is accepted by the majority of the group. Carolyn Stone (2009) explains the use of K. S. Kitchener s five moral principles as an aid to ethical decision making.

17 Kitchener s Five Moral Principles Autonomy: the freedom to choose your path

18 Kitchener s Five Moral Principles Beneficence: the ability to promote the good of others

19 Kitchener s Five Moral Principles Nonmaleficence: not to harm or exploit

20 Kitchener s Five Moral Principles Justice or fairness: equal treatment

21 Kitchener s Five Moral Principles Loyalty or fidelity: staying connected and keeping promises

22 Case Study In the course of a meeting to discuss a student s progress, a school counselor attributes Jodie s lack of progress to his lazy behaviors. The counselor states that Jodie seldom completes class assignments and or homework. She presents evidence of these behaviors. The parents accuse the counselor of defamation.

23 Thirteen Complications of Working with Minors in a School Setting (Stone, 2009) Counselor s Values Obligations Beyond the Student Minor s Developmental and Chronological Levels Privacy Rights of Minors Legal Status of Minors In Loco Parentis Community and Institutional Standards Academic Instruction Trusting Relationships Informed Consent Opacity of Laws and Ethical Codes Number of Student Clients Standard of Care

24 Counselor s Values The right to pray The right to an abortion The right of gay/lesbians to meet at school The right of students to get contraceptives The right to oppose abortion

25 Obligations Beyond the Student Legal and ethical responsibilities to the parents, the school, the community, the teachers, administrators, the school district, and other students are all obligations beyond the student. Laws and court decisions give parents many rights.

26 Minor s Developmental and Chronological Levels Ability level Vocabulary Age Maturity

27 Privacy Rights of Minors The privacy rights of minors legally belong to their parents. Refer to these two federal laws: FERPA and HIPAA

28 Legal Status of Minors Age 18 is generally when the rights of the parent transfer legally to the child. Parents have the power to agree to counseling for their child. Some states allow minors to become legally emancipated.

29 In Loco Parentis In Loco parentis is a common law doctrine that says the school personnel are in charge of protecting the students rights when they are in the school setting.

30 Community and Institutional Standards What are the values of the community? Is there a particular ethnic or religious influence? What does the community find acceptable?

31 Academic Instruction In agency and private practices, counselor have a defined space. Where does the counseling setting start and end in the confines of the school campus?

32 Trusting Relationship A trusting relationship implies confidentiality. How do school counselors maintain this trusting relationship when parents have the right to know, when teachers or administrators are asking questions, or when students are talking to their friends?

33 Informed Consent Informed consent is a principal that is both ethical and legal and requires the counselor to tell the student the potential risks and benefits or alternatives to counseling. Tell the student the limits of confidentiality. This should be done before counseling starts. It should be done so a student can understand what counseling means.

34 Opacity of Laws and Ethical Codes Laws and ethical codes are vague or not always clear when they deal with minors. Each case is individual and takes all the other complications into consideration. So decisions vary from community to community and from state to state.

35 Number of Student-Clients What is your counselor/student ratio? How much time can you devote to each case?

36 Standard of Care Did you do what a reasonable counselor would do in a similar situation? Things that will determine your standard of care: laws, ethical codes, school board policy, case law, expert witnesses, length of career, and professional development.

37 Case Study The school counselor goes on a home visit. She arrives at the student s home and finds that two younger siblings are home without any parental supervision. The counselor waits for the parent to return. The parent explains that this was an emergency and that the children are not usually left alone. The counselor conducts the school s business, returns to campus, and tells the principal of the situation that she discovered. Two days later, one of the children is found dead near her home.

38 Law and Ethics Law = lowest standard that society accepts Ethics = ideal standard set by professionals

39 What other Ethical Codes need we consider? ACA ASGW NBCC

40 What Laws may we need to know in Texas? FERPA HIPPA These are some of the laws listed in the LPC-Code of Ethics: Texas Family Code, Chapter 261 Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 48 Texas Health and Safety Code Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Texas Occupations Code Texas Penal Code 21.01

41 ASCA Code, Section G.3 Solutions to Ethical Problems in Schools (STEP) (Stone, 2001) 1. Define the problem emotionally and intellectually 2. Apply the ASCA Ethical Standards and the law 3. Consider the students chronological and developmental levels 4. Consider the setting, parental rights and minors rights

42 ASCA Code, Section G.3 Solutions to Ethical Problems in Schools (STEP) (Stone, 2001) 5. Apply the moral principles 6. Determine your potential courses of action and their consequences 7. Evaluated the selected action 8. Consult 9. Implement the course of action

43 Ethical Codes What are the consequences of breaking ethical codes?

44 Bibliography Herman, M.A., Remley, R., & Huey, W. (2012). Ethical & Legal Issues in school counseling (3 rd ed.). ASCA. Stone, C. (2009). School Counseling Principles ethics and law (2 nd ed.). ASCA. Articles on ASCA web site: section.asp?edition=91&section=140

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