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07/24/2024 08:26 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=41665
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 26, 2023 05:14 PM
From: Representative Stephenie Scialabba
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing Uniform Criteria for School Guidance Counselors
 
School counselors play a vital role in the holistic development of students, ensuring their academic success and translating interests and aspirations into tangible career plans and choices. However, the Public School Code of 1949 and its related regulations do not provide a definition for school counselors nor a consistent framework for school counseling programs.

My legislation creates the School Counseling Services Act which requires each school entity to develop and implement, with a certified school counselor, a written school counseling plan that ensures that student services are coordinated in a manner that provides academic or career developmental support to all students.

The bill defines direct and indirect services provided by school counselors and delineates the types of administrative activities to be provided by school counselors.

The legislation clarifies that immediate parental involvement is required when school counselors identify students who are at risk of suicide, and when responding to and aiding students who are bullied or bullying.
Most importantly, my legislation requires each school entity to adopt a policy concerning school guidance and counseling programs that includes the following:
  • A provision for written notification, at least annually, to parents about academic and career guidance programs that are available to their children. The notification must include the purpose and general description of the programs, information regarding ways parents may review materials to be used in guidance and counseling programs, and information about the procedures by which parents may limit their child’s participation in such programs.
  • A provision prohibiting the use of counseling techniques which are beyond the scope of the professional certification or training of counselors, including counseling techniques that are normally employed in medical or clinical settings and focus on mental illness, behavior health or psychopathology.
  • A provision requiring that information and records of social and emotional counseling be kept confidential and separate from a student's educational records and not disclosed to third parties without prior parental consent or as otherwise provided by law.
  • A provision with respect to social and emotional counseling setting forth the procedures by which parents can elect in writing to have their child participate ("opt-in").
  • A provision that provides for the meaningful inclusion of a parent when a student receives direct or indirect services from a school counselor.
Please join me in supporting this important legislation to codify uniform school counseling plans define the scope of practice for school counselors, and provide meaningful interaction with the parents and legal guardians of students.



Introduced as HB1805