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School Counseling Ethics

The ethics related to school counseling differ in focus from that of a professional counselor. There are separate professional organizations as well as separate work environments. School Counselors work with minors in a school setting that is designed for academics. Issues that face children and adolescents on a personal-social level do impact progression in the academic areas and need counselor intervention and consultation. The Education Code is the guiding framework for school counselor’s work, and it has become more complex in interpretation and implementation. Legal issues are quickly becoming a concern for school counselors as they practice in the public setting. In this course, students develop a working knowledge of the ethical standards and codes of the school counseling profession. Students develop the ability to reason ethically and understand the tenets of laws and ethical codes pertaining to school counseling. Students explore and analyze court cases and current critical cases in school counseling. Students develop ethical strategies for handling the numerous ethical and legal issues and the numerous dilemmas that school counselors confront in their profession. Current issues such as: cyberspace and ethical use of technology, LGBTQIA+ issues, 1st Amendment rights, school counselors’ role as advocates for social justice, and in the prevention of school violence are explored.


  • Examining trends in the codes of ethics and ethical decision-making within the counseling profession.
  • Describing and analyzing the ethical, legal, and professional standards of the counseling profession, including state and national ethical and legal codes related to mental health counselors.
  • Managing high risk behaviors in the school culture such as self-injurious behaviors, suicidal ideation, and potential for violence.
  • Developing appropriate case notes, guidelines for court testimony, and responding to subpoenas in the role of the school counselor.
  • Documenting rules and regulations for the counselor position in the public schools through the Texas Administrative Codes, Attorney General Decisions, and Federal Guidelines.
  • Communicating with administrators, teachers, parents and other school personnel within legal and ethical guidelines while protecting and maintaining student confidentiality.
  • Defining and understanding the role of crisis intervention and counseling in the school counseling field.
  • Defining consultation and supervision as related to the counseling profession.
  • Demonstrating via case studies the ability to apply ethical decision-making skills.
  • Discussing confidentiality, privileged communication, duty to warn, informed consent, dual relationships, privacy, right of clients, professional liability, and malpractice in the school counseling field.
  • Assessing one’s own values, attitudes, and beliefs as a helping professional.
  • Discussing the ethics of academic advisement of students in the public school setting.
  • Communicating an understanding of the ethical guidelines concerning college admission process, college letters of recommendation and scholarship needs for the student.
  • Demonstrating the best practices of student assessment for career programs and career advisement along with advocacy in selection of students for special school programs and leadership roles.
  • Distinguishing between the role of the counselor in the school culture and that of a private practice setting.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of best ethical practices concerning confidentiality on school campuses.
  • Demonstrating the best process for data collection and its uses for the best student academic outcome.
  • Explaining high stakes testing and related stressors in the school culture.
  • Applying appropriate ethical guidelines to a specific school counseling case study in a constructed response essay.


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