ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS Revised June 25, 1998 Preamble The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a professional organization whose members have a unique and distinctive preparation, grounded in the behavioral sciences, with training in clinical skills adapted to the school setting. The school counselor assists in the growth and development of each individual and uses his or her highly special- ized skills to protect the interests of the counselee within the structure of the school system. School counselors subscribe to the following basic tenets of the counseling process from which professional respon- sibilities are derived: • Each person has the right to respect and dignity as a human being and to counseling services without prejudice as to person, character, belief, or practice regardless of age, color, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital s tatus, or socioe- conomic status. • Each person has the right to self-direction and self-development. • Each person has the right of choice and the responsibility for goals reached. • Each person has the right to privacy and thereby the right to expect the counselor-counselee relationship to comply with all laws, poli- cies, and ethical standards pertaining to confidentiality. In this document, ASCA specifies the principles of ethical behavior necessary to regulate and maintain the high standards of integrity, lead- ership, and professionalism among its members. The Ethical Standards for School Counselors were developed to clarify the nature of ethical responsibilities held in common by school counseling professionals. The purposes of this document are to: • Serve as a guide for the ethical practices of all professional school counselors regardless of level, area, population served, or member- ship in this professional Association; • Provide benchmarks for both self-appraisal and peer evaluations regarding counselor responsibilities to counselees, parents, col- leagues and professional associates, schools, and communities, as well as to one's self and the counseling profession; and • Inform those served by the school counselor of acceptable counselor practices and expected professional behavior. A.1. Responsibilities to Students The professional school counselor: a. Has a primary obligation to the counselee who is to be treated with respect as a unique individual. b. Is concerned with the educational, career, emotional, and behavioral needs and encourages the maximum development of each counselee. c. Refrains from consciously encouraging the counselee's acceptance of values, lifestyles, plans, decisions, and beliefs that represent the coun- selor's personal orientation. d. Is responsible for keeping informed of laws, regulations, and policies relating to counselees and strives to ensure that the rights of counselees are adequately provided for and protected.
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