Resolving Complaints

The Ethics and Professional Practices Board (EPPB) has the responsibility to accept, investigate, and settle complaints about the professional conduct of NASP members and school psychologists who hold the NCSP. In some circumstances, the Board may itself initiate ethical complaints and show-cause actions. The committee's procedures define a series of problem-solving steps ranging from informal resolution of concerns to formal adjudication of complaints. You may also view the committee's complete Ethics Procedures.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Filing an Ethics Complaint

  • Have I attempted to resolve the problem by discussing it with the school psychologist or a supervisor? The majority of school psychologists behave ethically and are committed to the welfare of their clients. Sometimes, though, problems result from lack of communication and misunderstandings and can be resolved without submitting an ethics complaint.
  • Is there a local or state organization to which I could submit a concern? For concerns about a school psychologist's possible ethical misconduct, contacting your state school psychology association might be a "next step." Many state associations have an ethics chair or committee and attempt to problem solve situations involving their members.
  • Is the concern about a special education decision? The Ethics and Professional Practices Board is usually not the best place to begin trying to resolve such disagreements. Special education team decision making is complicated and team members, including parents and school psychologists, may have differing points of view. Local education agencies are responsible for the decisions building level teams make and every state provides parents with a procedure to appeal decisions they disagree with. Information about your "due process" rights may be found in parent handbooks and district and state web sites. If you need assistance, local and state agencies are available to help. For example, the US Department of Education provides Customer Service contact persons in every state. Additionally, every state has a Technical Assistance Parent Center serving families of children of all ages (birth through 26 years) with all disabilities; physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional.
  • Is the concern appropriate for the NASP Ethical and Professional Practices Board to consider? NASP's Principles for Professional Ethics defines the appropriate professional conduct of school psychologists. However, it can be difficult to apply them to some situations. For example, problematic relationships between school psychologists and their colleagues should be addressed but may not constitute ethical misconduct. Similarly, school psychologists should strive to follow "best practices," but behaving ethically is different from following a "best practices" standard.

Steps for Resolving an Ethics Complaint:

  • Contact the EPPB to determine whether your concern might constitute an ethical violation and whether the EPPB would have jurisdiction in the matter.
  • If your concern is not appropriate for the EPPB to address, the regional representative will, if possible, refer you to another more appropriate organization.
  • If informal approaches are not effective in resolving your concern or the matter involves serious misconduct, the complainant can submit a formal complaint and release form to the EPPB via email. The EPPB will then follow the EPPB Procedures once submitted. Note that the EPPB does not accept anonymous reports about ethical misconduct.