University Of Balochistan Idle Gossip vs Professional Information Psychology Essay

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The following case is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of Rahill and Kaiser (2021).

Rahill, S. A., & Kaiser, L. T. (2021). Case studies in school psychology: Applying standards for professional practice. Routledge.

Idle Gossip vs. Professional Information: Can You Tell the Difference?

Jackie, a school psychologist, was recently transferred within her district from the high school level to one of the district’s middle schools in the spring of the school year. Within her first few weeks working at her new placement, she received a new case with an incoming middle school student with counseling services written in her IEP. The school psychologist participated in the transition meeting with the team from the elementary school in May and the counseling goal was put in place to continue in middle school. Jackie was designated as the person to provide counseling for this student. Over the summer, Jackie ran into the elementary-level school psychologist, Kathy, at a local conference. Over lunch with several other professionals who were attending the conference from various school districts, the elementary-level school psychologist, Kathy, told Jackie about some of the children transitioning to her middle school in the Fall. She told stories about the various families, gave a great deal of information about this child on Jackie’s counseling caseload. She jokingly said, “that family is a nightmare.” Jackie was intrigued and asked Kathy for more details, Kathy said, “just look them up online! You’ll see!” The other educators at the table laughed at this comment and began telling stories about some of the children and families from their own schools. That evening, Jackie searched Google with the family’s last name. She found information about the arrest of the adult-aged older brother for selling drugs. She also found arrest records for the father’s past drug use and for car thefts. Finally, she found multiple posts on the mother’s Facebook page about these “unfair” arrests and how her family was being targeted by the police.

When school started in the fall, Jackie shared the information that she found online with the student’s seven teachers, so they understood the family life of their incoming student. Maria, the school counselor, expresses alarm that the teachers were all provided with this information. Jackie argued to Maria that she had shared this information with all the teachers to increase their empathy and compassion for the child when working with him. She also felt that since the information was readily available online, she had not violated any confidentiality of the student or the family.

Analysis and Response Instructions

Problem/Issue Identification

Clearly summarize the ethical and potential legal issues involved in this situation. Include responses to the following questions in your discussion.

What is the cultural norm for sharing information about students and their families?

What is Jackie’s goal for sharing information about a student and the student’s family?

Why is Maria alarmed?

Problem/Issue Solution

Should a school psychologist search for information online about a family/child for the stated goal of being better able to serve that child and his/her specific needs? Why or why not?

Consider the following in your response:

  • What are the potential benefits of sharing the information? What is the potential harm of sharing the information?
  • How do the lunch table conversations reflect assumptions and beliefs about the family or other similar families? What issues does this raise in terms of school staff relationships with families?
  • What does the NASP (2020) Principles of Professional Ethics say in terms of seeking information on a client that is not disclosed in sessions? (Starts on p. 39 of the NASP Standards document from Module 1.)
  • Do clients have the right to control what information is disclosed to a psychologist?
  • How can a school psychologist differentiate between necessary information to assist a child and gossip about a family/child? In the case, what types of information would you consider “gossip”? Which information is important for the psychologist to know? The teachers?

Should any actions be taken against Jackie or Kathy by other school psychologists? If so, what?Explain and be specific. (Hint: What does the NASP (2020) Principles of Professional Ethics advise in terms of what to do if you suspect another school psychologist colleague has crossed ethical boundaries?)

It sounds as if the family could use some support, what might be your next steps if you were Jackie and were truly concerned about the family?

Personal Reflection

In two or three sentences, discuss how you would respond in this scenario if you were the school counselor, Maria, who worked with Jackie. You are also free to briefly discuss any key insights or related personal experiences.

part b should be done in a different file. 2 to 3 sentences.

The first case study allows you to consider one of the most common ethical issues within school systems: How do we differentiate information about a student or family that is okay to share with other professionals from information that is not okay to share?

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