Ethics and Law for School Psychologists

By Susan Jacob; Dawn M. Decker et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
ETHICS IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY:
AN INTRODUCTION

Who are school psychologists? As Fagan (2014) observed, the term school psychologist has been defined in many different ways. For the purposes of this book, we adopted the definition developed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): School psychologists are professionals who

provide effective services to help children and youth succeed academically, socially,
behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists provide direct educational and
mental health services for children and youth, as well as work with parents, educators,
and other professionals to create supportive learning and social environments for all
children. (NASP, 2010b)

Because the decisions made by school psychologists have an impact on human lives, and thereby on society, the practice of school psychology rests on the public’s trust. To build and maintain society’s trust in school psychology, it is essential that every school psychologist is sensitive to the ethical and legal components of his or her work, knowledgeable regarding broad ethical principles and rules of professional conduct, and committed to a proactive stance in ethical thinking and conduct.


QUALITY CONTROL IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY

Four sources of “quality control” protect the rights and welfare of students and other recipients of school psychological services. Professional codes of ethics for the delivery of psychological services are discussed in this chapter. Chapter 2 provides an introduction to law that protects the rights of students and their parents in the school setting. Educational law provides a second source of quality control. Chapter 2 also addresses the credentialing of school psychologists, a third mechanism of quality assurance. Credentialing helps to ensure that psychologists meet specified qualifications before they are granted a legal sanction to practice (Fagan & Wise, 2007). Training-program accreditation is an additional mechanism of quality control. Program accreditation helps to ensure the adequate preparation of school psychologists during their graduate coursework and field experiences.

This chapter focuses on the what and why of professional ethics, ethics training and competencies, and the codes of ethics of the NASP and the American Psychological Association (APA). Four broad ethical principles are introduced along with an

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