POLICY MANUAL

Counseling Program - Policy P6-53

A. Generally
The Lynchburg City School Board affirms that parents are the student's first teachers and that the public schools should serve to strengthen family and parental support.  No student will be required to participate in any counseling program to which the student's parents object.

B. Definition
For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

1. Academic Guidance - Guidance which assists students and their parents in an effort to acquire knowledge of the curricula and to explain choices available to students, to plan a program of studies, to arrange and interpret academic testing, and to seek post-secondary academic opportunities;

2. Career Guidance - Guidance which helps students to acquire information and plan action about work, jobs, apprenticeships, and post-secondary educational and career opportunities;

3. Personal/Social Counseling - Counseling which assists students to develop an understanding of themselves, the rights and needs of others, how to resolve conflict and to define individual goals, reflecting their interests, abilities and aptitudes. Such counseling may be provided either (i) in groups in which generic issues of social development are addressed or (ii) through structured individual or small group multi-session counseling which focuses on the specific concerns of the participant(s).

(Note: 1., 2., and 3. above may be classroom guidance activities.)

C. Implementation Procedures
At least annually, parents shall be notified in writing about the academic and career guidance programs, and the personal/social counseling programs which are available to students within the school division. Parents will be advised concerning the purpose, general description of the programs, how parents may review materials to be used in the programs, and procedures by which parents may limit the students' participation in the program. Information and records of personal/social counseling shall be kept confidential and separate and not disclosed to third parties without prior parental consent or as otherwise provided by law.

Each year at registration, parents will be given a written description of the entire counseling program of Lynchburg City Schools, a copy of this policy, and the opportunity to opt their child out of personal/social counseling. Parents who do not sign and submit the opt-out request form will be presumed to have allowed their child to participate in the program. Parents who wish to change their permission for their child to participate in the program must notify the school division in writing.

Counselors and teachers may choose to inform parents who opt their child out of personal/social counseling concerning small group individual counseling opportunities which may be available at their school and to seek written permission from such parents for their child to participate in specific activities or groups. These parents also may on their own initiative by written request, reinstate their child into any specific activity or group. However, parental consent is no t required for short duration personal/social counseling which is needed to maintain order, discipline, or a productive learning environment. Counseling techniques which are beyond the scope of the professional certification or training of counselors, including hypnosis, or other psychotherapeutic techniques that are normally employed in medical or clinical settings and focus on mental illness or psychopathology are prohibited.

Legal Reference:

Code of Va., 1950, § 22.1-209, Each school board shall make available to secondary students employment counseling and placement services to furnish information relating to the employment opportunities available to students graduating from or leaving the public schools in the school division which shall include all types of employment opportunities, including but not limited to, apprenticeships, the military, and career education schools.

B. No fee, compensation or other consideration shall be charged to or received from any student utilizing such services.

C. In providing such services, the school board shall consult and cooperate with the Virginia Employment Commission, the Department of Labor and Industry, local business and labor organizations, and such career schools as may be approved by the Board.

D. The Board of Education may recommend methods for providing such services. The State Department of Education may provide assistance to school divisions in establishing and providing such services upon request. 53.13:2 (D) (1991)

Code of Va., 22.1-253.13:2 Standard 2. Support services. A. The General Assembly and the Board of Education believe that effective schools must provide and maintain efficient and cost-effective support services to ensure quality education. The General Assembly and the Board of Education further believe that in order to ensure the goal of quality education, local school divisions must have efficient administrative, supervisory, and support services.

B. The Department of Education shall provide to the local school divisions technical assistance in the delivery of those support services which are necessary for the operation and maintenance of the public schools. Such technical assistance services shall include, but not be limited to, in-service training of staff, development of appropriate facility plans, specifications for equipment, technology updates, design of summer school programs and other forms of remediation, and inspections of school buses.

C. Each local school board shall provide those support services which are necessary for the efficient and cost-effective operation and maintenance of its public schools including, but not limited to, administration, instructional support, pupil personnel services, student attendance and health, operation and maintenance of the buildings and management information systems.

D. Each local school board shall also provide a program of pupil personnel services for grades K through 12 which shall be designed to aid students in their educational, social and career development.

E. Pursuant to the appropriations act, support services shall be funded from basic school aid on the basis of prevailing statewide costs. (1997)

Regulations of the Virginia State Board of Education, Revised 1996, (Regulations Regarding School Guidance and Counseling Programs in the Public Schools of Virginia),

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), P. L. 93-380, 20 U. S. C. Section 1232 (g) (1979); 34 C. F. R. Part 99.

Adopted by School Board: June 18, 1996

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