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Standard 6

Professional Ethics and Legal Mandates

The program provides candidates with opportunities and experiences to display an understanding of professional codes of ethics and current legal mandates, as well as an awareness of the range of legal issues, such as, statutory, regulatory, and case law affecting the delivery of pupil services. The program requires candidates to demonstrate the ability to access information about legal and ethical matters.


In planning the PPS Program, it was felt by the counselor education faculty that a course in school laws with an emphasis in student personnel services was needed to fulfill the objectives of the program.  This course is taught by a person who is familiar with the workings of law, especially those that relate to school issues.  Students are required to analyze cases according to school law and make interpretations applicable to California Codes.  The class includes affirmative action laws.  All objectives of the course “Laws Relating to Children” ( Coun 150) relate to the areas addressed in Standard 6, Professional Ethics and Legal Mandates.

Primary course that addresses Standard 6: Coun 150

Course objectives

  1. The student will describe the significant aspects of the American legal system relating to minors.
  2. The student will describe the autonomies and protections provided to minors regarding property ownership, marriage, employment, health and medical treatment, and civil litigation generally.
  3. The student will describe the nature and extent of the rights conferred on juveniles by the United States Constitution. (Due process will be addressed)
  4. The student will describe the development of the juvenile justice system both before and after In re Gault.
  5. The student will describe the legal aspects of the home-school relationship, including the responsibilities and obligations of children, of parents and of school personnel in matters of attendance, curriculum, discipline and supervision.
  6. The student will describe the laws that apply in determining custody and control of minors in various legal proceedings.
  7. The student will describe the processes and limitations for state intervention to ensure adequate parenting-including child abuse reporting laws, protective placements for children, dependency actions, and terminating parental rights.
  8. The student will analyze contemporary problems applying the general and specific legal principles that apply to children in the home, in school and in society.
  9. The student will identify multicultural issues and concerns that relate to specific applications of law relating to minors. 

Course requirements:

1. Tests:

Candidates are given two quizzes and a cumulative examination to assess their understanding of the assigned readings and lectures in class.

2. Compilation paper:

Candidates compile a research paper related to the course and their credential objective after their study of three comprehensive cases and/or articles from law reviews and professional journals. 

Candidates will then produce a 2-3 page conclusion summarizing the information and make an oral presentation of their findings in class.

In order to ensure that candidates will keep informed of changes in laws and regulations related to California public education, a list of websites on laws relating to children is included in the course syllabus.

In addition to Coun 150, professional ethics and legal mandates in applying specific counseling services are addressed in multiple courses:


Course objectives

Coun 174

Objective 4:Identify current legal and ethical issues in the field of counseling

Coun 200

Objective 6: Demonstrate an ability to apply current legal and ethical practices to the counseling relationship

Coun 201

Objective6: Identify ethical issues relevant to counseling the culturally differnent.

Coun 203

Objective4: Apply ethical, legal, and professional standards using testing instruments.

Coun 206

Objective10: Apply ethical principles to developmental counseling.

Coun 208

Objective 3: To understand the professional code of ethics of the American Counseling Association and be able to incorporate those ethical standards into the counselor’s behavior

Coun 220

Objective 7: Apply ethical and legal procedures when using career development counseling and theory.

Coun 233

Objective6: Understanding of legal and ethical issues unique to counseling children and adolescents will be demonstrated through analysis of case study, conduct during observation, and development of treatment plans.

Coun 240

Topic:Legal Safeguards/IEP's

Coun 241

Objective8: Familiar with relevant laws pertaining to students in school setting, including compliance for PPS programs.

Objective 10: Able to promote the use of ethical standards and procedures in working with pupils who come from different socio-economic, racial, and social backgrounds.

Coun 242

Objective4: Investigate procedures for developing methods to be used in formulating pupil advocacy programs.

Objective 6: Recognize and apply appropriate legal concepts and legal procedures in working with consultees.

Coun 249

Objective8: Apply ethical and legal considerations to all activities with which the field placement student becomes involved in an approved school setting.

CI 285

Objective3: Become more conversant with professional ethics and implications for practice.

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