Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Managing Confidentiality

The best scenario occurs when a student wants to meet with you to talk about personal issues. In that case, you can establish some ground rules from the outset. For instance, we can tell the student what he or she can expect from us, namely that we won't break confidentiality unless we feel they're going to harm themselves or someone else. One counselor I spoke to promises that there'll be no surprises. Specifically, he won't report anything to the parents without first letting the student know and will only do so if he feels it's absolutely necessary. This way, the student knows what to expect.

In light of situations like this, we all need to teach our students about the importance of taking action when their friends are heading down unhealthy paths. We should teach them that true friends are willing to confront loved ones who they know are hurting themselves. Students are often too immature to recognize when confrontation is necessary. Or else they're so concerned with their reputation that the fear of being a rat or a narc (yes, high schoolers still use that word) will keep them quiet. So we must teach our students that their fear of God must outweigh their fear of man, and we must create a culture that values loving student-to-student confrontation

If a student's talking seriously about taking her own life, it's also time for action. Remember that parents will always forgive you for erring on the side of caution.

Wow - this article is a must read, very good. Read the full article here.

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