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breaking_burgundy
05-30-2014, 05:36 AM
If a high school school guidance counselor had reason to believe that a student was engaging in self-injury, is she legally allowed to speak to the student confidentially, or would she be required to refer the student to a therapist and/or notify the student's parents?

C.bronco
05-30-2014, 05:59 AM
I know this one!

Any educator who has cause to believe that a student poses a threat to himself or others is legally obligated to report it.

C.bronco
05-30-2014, 06:04 AM
I repped you with more info

ZachJPayne
05-30-2014, 06:06 AM
Oh, the stories I can tell you about my HS guidance counselor.

But yes, C.bronco is spot on the money. They are legally obligated to report it.

Further, I went to a very large high school (I don't know how many students, exactly, but our newspaper had a print run of 2800, so probably a little more than that) and we had an on-site psychiatrist . . . well, I think she was more of an MFTi. . . but still.

C.bronco
05-30-2014, 06:12 AM
I'm a guidance counselor, and I endorse that message. :)

ArtsyAmy
06-01-2014, 03:18 AM
I know this one!

Any educator who has cause to believe that a student poses a threat to himself or others is legally obligated to report it.

I'm curious. Report it to whom? Police? School principal? (Who then reports it to whom?) An outside social service agency? Also, what constitutes an "educator" in this context? Thanks.

I wonder, breaking_burgundy, if your question is something you need to research for the particular place your story is set in. Perhaps the laws vary by state for this kind of thing. I used to work in child protective services. In my state, any adult suspecting child abuse is legally required to report it to this state's Division of Child Protective Services. However, in some other states, only certain adults (e.g., teachers, doctors, etc.) are legally required to report. To a large degree, laws regarding education rest with state governments, not the federal government (e.g. homeschool regulations are determined by states and can vary greatly from state to state). (I'm assuming the original question is about guidance counselors in public schools in the U.S.A.)

ULTRAGOTHA
06-01-2014, 03:37 AM
Reporting guidelines (and if and who is legally obligated to report) will vary from state to state as ArtsyAmy says. Also, they were different in the past. Now days most if not all states do have some kind of reporting requirements; but what is required to be reported, to whom, and under what circumstances will vary.

Which state does this take place in? Kentucky? And does it take place in 2014?

jaksen
06-01-2014, 05:40 PM
I wasn't a counselor, but a teacher for 35 years, in the US. Public schools. I reported to the principal and he carried the ball from there.

But I knew (more timid) teachers who would report to another teacher or to a guidance counselor first. Made me mad when they did this. I had to report for another teacher more than once because...'Oh my goodness,' timid one would say, 'what if I am wrong?'

And so what if you were, still had to report it. I even had to report abuse told to me by my daughter who attended a diff. school in a diff. town. (She'd overheard someone talking about getting a good beating by their dad that morning.) I mentioned it to my principal, for advice, and his response was: gotta report it. Now that I know and you know, gotta report it.

And he did. He reported to the local police, who would investigate and SS, who would also investigate.

ULTRAGOTHA
06-01-2014, 06:27 PM
If this is Kentucky here's a link to their current law (http://www.kdva.org/resources/dvlaws/dvlawsmr.html).

breaking_burgundy
06-01-2014, 06:34 PM
Thanks for your help, everyone. Although it seems I wasn't clear enough in the original post--I mentioned self-injury (ie, cutting), not child abuse.

Also, this will probably take place in Pennsylvania, not Kentucky.

JulianneQJohnson
06-01-2014, 07:14 PM
I worked in child services in Kentucky. We did not have to report self harm to child protective services. In our case, we reported it to our supervisor and the child's therapist, but it was a residential setting. In a school setting, the parents would be notified of any harm that came to the child, self inflicted or not. If the parents seemed uninterested in getting the child help, that might constitute neglect, which would warrant a call to CPS.

I'm assuming you are talking about self harm with no intent for suicide. If the child was a danger to themselves, that would call for a more serious action on the part of the counselor, I imagine.

None of that means that the counselor couldn't try to help the student too.

ArtsyAmy
06-02-2014, 06:40 PM
Thanks for your help, everyone. Although it seems I wasn't clear enough in the original post--I mentioned self-injury (ie, cutting), not child abuse.

Also, this will probably take place in Pennsylvania, not Kentucky.

I think I may have unintentionally leaned the discussion a bit toward child abuse. I was trying to make the point that it would probably be best for you to find out what the law requires/allows in the place where your story occurs, as the laws regarding reporting various things about minors vary from state to state. (I used child abuse and home schooling as examples just to support the point.) Now that we know that your story takes place in PA, maybe someone will come along with knowledge about self-injuring minors that is specific to that state. :)