Bill circumventing counselor confidentiality continues on in session

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Bill circumventing counselor confidentiality continues on in session

The confidentiality students share with counselors is in danger as committee members passed a bill removing the right.


House Bill 1167, which circumvents the confidentiality between student and counselor, passed the House Education committee on an 8-6 vote. The bill would require a counselor to share any disclosure a student makes in a session with them with a parent or guardian, unless there is suspected child abuse, neglect or exposure to other illegal activity.


Rep. Chris Johnson, the bill’s prime sponsor, asked “why would counselors not want to involve parents?”


ASBSD opposes the bill with Executive Director Wade Pogany countering that “there’s a balance there” that protects and helps students.


“Where do children go, for safety, if they can’t trust their counselors?” Pogany asked. “This privilege exists for a very important reason and it protects kids.”


S.D. Council of Mental Health Centers Executive Director Terry Dosch said the bill “strikes to the heart of therapeutic effectiveness” and the confidentiality between counselors and students helps schools “fortify their efforts to keep kids safe.”


Retired School Psychologist Florence Thompson testified in favor the bill that there’s a “cloak of secrecy to push an agenda” among school counselors and “the parents are losing their rights because of transgendering.”


HB 1167 now moves to the House floor for review and vote.


For updates on the bill and others during the 2020 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Bill Tracker page.

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