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The school counselor is acting legally and ethically when reporting and does not require anyone’s permission to call in child abuse.
The confidentiality breach comes when these plans are indiscriminately kept without regard to when they should be purged, where they should be kept and if they are necessary beyond just the district’s need to ward off liability.
As the school counselor I’m expected to follow up with all the students for whom alerts were received. This direct line of communication should also convey to parents the reason the software generated concern and possible referral resources.
Some school districts use parts of the software to limit access to particular websites but don’t activate the alerts.
If a school district performs suicide assessments, these assessments should only be used as a segue to convey to parents the urgency to monitor their child’s safety and to get them professional mental health care to evaluate and, if necessary, treat the suicide risk.
The standard of care for school counselors when informally assessing students who are identified as a potential suicide risk is to employ these assessments with extreme caution, with a follow-up assessment completed by a mental health professional who has been trained to assess the risk.
School counselors who rely on an in-school suicide assessment for definitive answers are not only negligent but wanton and reckless in their evaluation.