Comparing Codes of Ethics and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (PL93-380), also denoted as FERPA, is an ACT that requires scholar teachers to keep students records confidential and only make them available to a third party when a consent is given by the student. On the other hand, the codes of ethics provide a guideline to the school counseling profession by ensuring that the counselors follow the set standards for ethical practice. This paper provides a comparison between Codes of Ethics and FERPA.
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is composed of school counselors who have been certified or licensed to provide school counseling (ASCA, 2010). They have exceptional qualifications and skills that are applied when addressing academic, personal, social, and career development needs of the student. The ASCA Codes of Ethics entail principles related to ethical behaviors, which must be observed to maintain the high standards of professionalism, leadership, and integrity. The codes have been set to provide the school counselors with guidelines necessary for ethical practices, their responsibilities, and rules that must be observed.
There are similarities and differences between the ASCA 2010 Code of Ethics and the FERPA. For example, the two have been put into place to promote the welfare of the student. For instance, under both privacy and confidentiality of the students records must be promoted and ensured by the school counselor (Legal Information Institute, 2012; ASCA, 2010). Under the FERPA, the school counselor must safeguard students’ medical records especially under education institutions benefiting from federal funds. However, FERPA cannot prevent the school counselor from disclosing the notes to family members, law enforcement, or other personnel. Therefore, under both FERPA and ASCA Code of Ethics, school counselors have a primary obligation to students, which requires counselors to treat students with respect and dignity. The major difference between the two is that ASCA Codes are ethics set by the ASCA to provide guidelines for ensuring confidentiality and welfare of the students, while FERPA is a regulation that deals with the confidentiality and privacy of student’s medical records. In case of a conflict between the two, the most appropriate way is to make the decision based on the American Counseling Association (ACA) Codes of Ethics. For example, ASCA Code of ethics demands total confidentially and privacy, but FERPA contends that students’ records may be made available to third parties, especially law enforcement. By using the ACA Codes of Ethics, a school counselor may be able to solve such a conflict.
ACA Codes of Ethics and Significance
The American Counseling Association (ACA) Codes of Ethics provides its members with guidance that inform the ethical practices of counselors. According to ACA (2014), the codes found in the Code are integral as they act as a foundation for processing ethics and inquires. The ACA code of ethics is important for school counselors because it provides them with a platform and guidance that is necessary when dealing with ethical dilemmas that might prove to be difficult to solve. It reminds school counselors that their actions must be consistent with the set ethical standards and the spirit of better. In other words, the ACA code of ethics encourages school counselors to promote the welfare and dignity of the students (ACA, 2014). ACA codes of ethics are important to schoolteachers because it provides guidelines of what should be avoided and what should be encouraged. For example, non-professional relationships with the student are discouraged, but advocacy for the students and confidentiality are encouraged.
American Counseling Association. (2014). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics -As approved by the ACA Governing Council. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf.
American School Counselor Associations. (2010). Ethical Standards for School Counselors. Retrieved from http://www.alabamacounseling.org/pdf/EthicalStandards2010.pdf
Legal Information Institute. (2012). TITLE 20 – Education Chapter 31 – General provisions concerning education subchapter iii – general requirements and conditions concerning operation and administration of education programs: general authority of secretary. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/pdf/uscode20/lii_usc_TI_20_CH_31_SC_III_PA_sq4_SE_1232h.pdf