School counselors in Berkeley County District are required to be discrete about confidentiality of the students and parents or guardians in accordance with the laws in West Virginia Department of Education (n.d). The local laws require that students must be treated as individuals. This means that their rights must be observed. Secondly are the rights of the parents or guardians. They have the right to know about counseling of the children. If any form of remedy to the student who is being counseled is instituted, the parent or guardian has the right to know (West Virginia Department of Education, n.d). The Federal law, on the other hand, has restricted communication in an effort to protect the student clients who are receiving counseling treatment in substance use, treatment or referral services (Brooks, 1999).
The Federal law requires that for treatment information to be released, the consent of the student must be obtained. The student also has the right to revoke this consent anytime (Brooks, 1999). Adhering to these laws and at the same time upholding ethical standards can be disastrous to the school counselors. Ethical dilemmas are bound to be prevalent in the course of adhering to the laws that conflict with the ethics. For instance, considering a situation where the counselor has to deal with a student who abuses substances, such as cannabis. The Federal law has protected such a student from releasing such information because it can have adverse effects on the treatment program with the exception of instances of imminent harm (American Counseling Association, 2011). In such a scenario, the counselor may face a dilemma whether or not to involve the parents. By shutting off the parents or guardians, the counselor violates parents’ right and acts against the will of the client, which may cause difficulties in the counseling process. Counselors, thus, face difficulties in deciding whether to do what is ethically right or ignore ethics and uphold the rule of law.