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Ethical Conduct and Professional Practices

There are many ways to remain current about school psychologists' ethical conduct and professional practices. School psychologists often consult experienced colleagues or supervisors and are part of informal supervision groups. Many professional practice questions, though, require that the school psychologist consult other authoritative resources.

Ethical and Professional Practices Committee Suggestions

Consult the 2010 NASP Principles for Professional Ethics

The revised Principles will become effective on January 1, 2011. However, the committee recommends that school psychologists immediately begin using this version as a guide for ethical conduct. A pdf file may be downloaded here. You will find that the Principles are now optimized for school-based practice, are organized around four broad ethical themes and include 17 ethical principles. Multiple ethical standards exemplify each principle and provide more specific advice than previous versions of the Principles.

Consult the 2010 NASP Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services

The 2010 NASP Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services represents NASP policy regarding the delivery of comprehensive school psychological services. The model serves as a guide to the organization and delivery of school psychological services at the federal, state, and local levels. It provides direction to school psychologists, students, and faculty in school psychology, administrators of school psychological services, and consumers of school psychological services regarding excellence in professional school psychology. It also delineates what services might reasonably be expected to be available from most school psychologists and, thus, should help to further define the field. In addition, the model is intended to educate the profession and the public regarding appropriate professional practices.

Consult NASP's Position Statements

NASP Position statements are generated by workgroups and approved by the NASP Delegate Assembly. Position statements represent official policy of the association on given topics.

Discuss the Situation with a Colleague or Mentor

The EPP Committee recommends that all school psychologists develop ways to consult with trusted colleagues about difficult situations while maintaining their own responsibility for ethical and professional practice. Many school psychologists develop peer support groups as a means of collaborating about difficult cases and ethical dilemmas. More information is available in Harvey & Struzziero's (2008) Professional Development and Supervision of School Psychologists.

Contact a State School Psychology Association Ethics Committee

Many of NASP's affiliated state school psychology associations have ethics committees or chairpersons who are familiar with ethics, special education law and practice issues in general as well as issues specific to their states. State association website links can be found here.

Contact an EPP Committee Member

One of the EPP Committee's functions is to respond to questions and concerns from NASP members and from the public. Please contact the committee member responsible for your region and remember that committee members are volunteer NASP leaders—please use this privilege judiciously.

NASP Resource Library

Dozens of articles and chapters from NASP publications on topics ranging from abuse to zero tolerance are available to NASP members. Resources specific to ethical issues include:

Read a Best Practices V Chapter

Several chapters in BP-V also provide specific advice:

  • 120. Best Practices in School Psychology and the Law by David P. Prasse
  • 121. Best Practices in Developing Ethical School Psychological Practice by Susan Jacob
  • 122. Best Practices in the Application of Professional Ethics by Kathy McNamara
  • Know how to confront a colleague about ethically questionable practices.
  • Best Practices V is also available.

Consult Documents of Interests - Current Topics in Ethics and Law

The EPP Committee have compiled a listing of links to laws, journal articles, legal opinions, etc. that you will find helpful.

Annotated Bibliography

The EPP Committee has compiled a bibliography to help school psychologists access publications on ethical and professional practice issues. Credit is due to Susan Jacob and her graduate students at Central Michigan University and to Kathy McNamara and her graduate students at Cleveland State University for compiling this list.

Consult Online Resources Regarding Special Education

Often, questions about school psychologists' ethical and professional practices arise from issues related to special education issues involving assessment, disability determination, eligibility, placement, etc. Online resources that may help include:

OSEP's IDEA offers searchable versions of IDEA and the implementing regulations, video clips, webcasts, topic briefs and training materials on major IDEA provisions, Q & A documents, links to other helpful Department of Education websites, and a variety of other information sources.

  • Wrightslaw.com is a website with accurate information about special education law, education law and advocacy for children with disabilities.
  • Technical Assistance Parent Centers are federally funded to serve families of children of all ages (birth through 26 years) with all disabilities; physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional. Every state has these centers