According to "Section A.2. Confidentiality" of the 2010 American School Counselor Association Ethical Guidelines, school counselors must:
- Provide informed consent.
- Explain the limits of confidentiality in developmentally appropriate ways and through various means.
- Recognize the complicated nature of confidentiality in schools and consider each case in context.
- Recognize their primary obligation for confidentiality is to the students but balance that obligation with an understanding of parents’/guardians’ legal and inherent rights to be the guiding voice in their children’s lives, especially in value-laden issues.
- Promote the autonomy and independence of students to the extent possible and use the most appropriate and least intrusive method of breach.
- In absence of state legislation expressly forbidding disclosure, consider the ethical responsibility to provide information to an identified third party who, by his/her relationship with the student, is at a high risk of contracting a disease that is commonly known to be communicable and fatal.
- Request of the court that disclosure not be required when the release of confidential information may potentially harm a student or the counseling relationship.
- Protect the confidentiality of students’ records and release personal data in accordance with prescribed federal and state laws and school policies including the laws within the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
In order for school counselors to share confidential information with third parties including outside agencies or therapists, parents/guardians must complete and sign a CPS Release of Information. The CPS Release of Information form can be completed to allow school counselors to release information to and/or obtain information from specific individuals or entities. The CPS Release of Information is valid for 1 year from the date of origin and the parent/guardian has the right to revoke a signed release at any time.