Ethics plays a significant part in our daily lives, and our personal moral beliefs determine our judgments and actions. My personal ethics include qualities that have always helped me distinguish the appropriate option in complicated situations. I am an honest individual and the truth always matters to me more than anything else in any given situation. Since childhood, this quality has always directed me away from petty distractions that many children face at some time; such as cheating on exams, stealing, and or lying.
As far as I can remember, I have always stood up for what is right, and because of this it has helped me become the person I am today. I firmly believe that there are times in every individual’s life when they have to choose the right alternative, distinguish between right and wrong and support what is appropriate for society as a whole.
Growing up with both parents present in my life was a blessing. I had a very hardworking father who was an entrepreneur and a mother who was a stay-at-home-mom.
I was blessed to come from a family that provided me with the necessities that I needed, whether it was new pair of shoes, toys, food options, clothes and etc. And although everything may have seemed perfect from the outside looking in, it wasn’t. My mom suffered from a mental disability, to the point where my father, brother and I didn’t matter and neither did our well beings. I was surrounded by constant arguments and no support.
There was so much my father could do after working sometimes twelve to thirteen hour shifts at work. My home life was also affecting my school life. My grades were dropping and I remember having very little interest in anything that was going around me. Although, I was going through these tragic events in my life my parents never let me forget the moral values they had taught me. I always made sure to do everything with integrity and with integrity came courage, and to always strive to remain humble and grounded. Because of the hurdles, I was driven to do my best.
In continuation as I grew up, I knew in my heart that I wanted to work with children that needed help. Once, I entered middle school I accompanied my mother when she went to doctor appointments and her trips to see the psychiatrist. That is when I began to learn more about her diagnoses and became educated as to why she reacts to things in a certain way. My fascination in psychology grew and the love I have for children made me realize that becoming a school counselor was meant for me. I knew I wanted to become a school counselor to make a difference, one life at a time. My sole purpose is to help children who were in similar situations as myself- a family with no support, surrounded by verbal fights, constantly feeling alone, and or dealing with a mental disorder or disability. I would serve my purpose to be an advocate and help foster a relationship that will let students know I understand what they are going through. With my experience, I would also be able to give my expertise on how to approach the situation. By doing this I would expose children to a vast array of possibilities and be a constant reminder for them every day that they can do whatever they set their minds to. Help them develop belief in their ability, emphasize the importance of hard work and education, and help them to set goals for their future.
Next, ethics are a critical component of any counselor’s practice, but are particularly important to school counselors. Ethics means “agreed-upon values governing the conduct of professional members of an association and reflect the changing nature of the profession” (Stone, 2017). As a future school counselor, I ethically stand for to be respectful of each student’s background, be knowledgeable of laws and policies that protect students, involve other supportive individuals in problem-solving when necessary, and maintain appropriate boundaries with students, remembering that students are clients, not friends. I would also, when necessary, apply the ethical decision-making model to determine the best course of action when a conflict presents itself.
Furthermore, school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success. For example school counselors are student’s advocate, within the school environment, by addressing all student’s academic, career and social/emotional development needs. They design, implement, evaluate and enhance a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and increases student success. With that being said, connecting and practicing the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) standards, as a future candidate of a school counselor, I would support a safe learning environment and work to defend student’s rights and address the needs of all students through culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs that are a part of a comprehensive school counseling program.
To begin with, as a future school counseling candidate, I plan to serve all student’s rights with respect and dignity. I stand to fulfill my duty as a school counselor, by respecting the right to privacy for those students who build a counseling rapport and to provide an atmosphere of trust and confidence. Nevertheless, a student’s right to privacy and confidentiality is the basis for an effective counseling relationship. Confidentiality ensures that school counselors won’t share students’ disclosures with others except when the student authorizes it or when there is a clear and present danger to the student and/or to other persons. According to the American School Counselor Association the role of a school counselor regarding confidentiality is
“to support the students’ right to privacy and protect confidential information received from students, the family, guardians and staff members, to explain the meaning and limits of confidentiality to students in developmentally appropriate terms, and to provide appropriate disclosure and informed consent regarding the counseling relationship and confidentiality” (The School Counselor and Confidentiality, 2018).
Likewise, I would also serve students with the informed consent to ensure they are educated about the purposes, goals, techniques and rules of procedure under which they may receive counseling. By doing this, it eliminates confusion students may have and establishes a healthy counseling relationship.
School counselors play a big role in resolving tough issues within the school community. When being presented with a tough issue, by a student, I would first respect the student’s dignity. I would not let the specific issue alter my feelings towards the individual, but instead provide them with the necessary support and resources. I would take the matter seriously and work with the student to find the best solution for the given situation. Overall, school counselors are plugged in to the rest of the school community and, in many cases, the outside community as well. So if needed I would refer students to outside resources like substance abuse treatment centers, professional therapists, relatable workshops connected to the issue, family counseling, and etc.
Moreover, school counselors must always be aware of ethical standards in their work. “Any type of counseling profession involves ethics, but the fact that school counselors are working with minors and during crucial stages in their emotional and mental development makes being aware of ethical standards and issues even more important” (A Look at Ethical Issues in School Counseling, 2017). Some examples of tough ethical issues include abortion, drugs, violence, bullying, sexual harassment, working with parents/guardians, and etc. As a future school counseling candidate, I am aware that I will be presented with tough ethical issues and based on the severity of the situation precautions, support and resources will be taken place. For insistence, if I had a student who was sexually harassed I would practice the ethical standards and report to the administrator since the case would fall under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. I would provide services to the victim(s) and the perpetrator, as well. With that being said, I would also report to the victim(s) and the perpetrator’s parents/guardians. It’s the parents’ right to be informed and involved when their child is in harm and to be a guiding voice in their child’s life.
Lastly, the Ethical Standards for School Counselors were developed to clarify the nature of ethical responsibilities held in common by school counseling professionals. They are made of many components, such as responsibilities to students, responsibilities to parents/guardians, school counselor administrator/supervisors, school counseling intern site supervisor, maintenance of standards, and ethical decision making. The ASCA Code of Ethics is a guideline for school counselors to help them meet the needs of individual situations and determine the appropriate actions that need to be made. One of the important standard is confidentiality. This section mentions the ethical standards and legal mandates regarding confidentiality, in which includes informing students about the limits and informed consent. Practicing and following the ASCA Code of Ethics will help me as a school counselor to make appropriate actions and be mindful of my responsibilities as a school counselor.
In summary, ethics plays a significant part in school counseling and counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success. Each student has the right to be respected and be treated with dignity, along with access to a comprehensive school counseling program. Based on my personal ethical position on being a future school counseling candidate, I firmly believe all students have the right to privacy, for those students who build a counseling rapport, and to be provided with an atmosphere filled with trust and confidence.