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January28

Decision delayed on counselor privilege bill

The decision on a bill that added a new provision to school counselor privilege was delayed until a later date after much hand wringing at Wednesday’s (1/28) House Education Committee meeting.

 

House Bill 1077 would require parental approval to waive a school counselor privilege for a student under age sixteen.

 

HB 1077’s sponsor Rep. Mike Stevens said it would provide parents a right they currently do not have in law and enhance legal protection for school districts and counselors.

 

“It addresses and protects three different entities,” Rep. Stevens said, adding the bill did affect the legal responsibility of counselors to report allegations of abuse to authorities.

 

The merits of the bill were lauded by all, but concerns were shared by legislators and testifiers over the potential perception of that trust between student and counselor would be violated.

 

“That trust is the most important thing,” Dianna Miller, lobbyist for the South Dakota Counseling Association, said.

 

Rep. Fred Deutsch noted the issue appeared primarily legal and wondered what the effect of the new provision would have on the relationship between a counselor and their students.

 

“How do we ensure the relationship is maintained?” Rep. Deutsch asked.

 

A date for the House Ed. Committee to take action on the bill has not been set. ASBSD is monitoring the bill.

 

Check the Blog and Bill Tracker page for updates on HB 1077 and other legislation.

 

 

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