Ethical Issues for School Counselors

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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...
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