Legislation (An amendment to SB234) currently being discussed in Tennessee “would bar school personnel from advising students on “mental health” issues, ‘lifestyle’ choices or other conditions or activities outside career and educational counseling” unless they have been licensed as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. I’m appalled by this, not only because it indicates a complete lack of understanding of the training school counselors receive, but also because students already have too few adults in their lives with whom they can safely discuss the problems and challenges they face. Here’s an editorial about the issue in the Chattanoogan, and here’s an article in the Tennessean.
Another bill, (SB514) also in Tennessee, allows graduate level counseling students to deny services to lgbt clients based on religious grounds.
Here’s a question. School counselors are held to professional ethics standards which state that: “Each person has the right to be respected, to be treated with dignity and have access to a comprehensive school counseling program that advocates for and affirms all students from diverse populations including: … sexual orientation …” (Ethical Standards for School Counselors, 2010) How should a school counselor balance their professional standards against laws that directly contradict them?