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Carolyn Stone

EDUCATOR, SCHOOL COUNSELOR AND SPEAKER

Carolyn Stone, Ed.D., is a Professor of Counselor Education at the University of North Florida (UNF). Dr. Stone is a Past President of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Prior to coming to UNF, Dr. Stone spent 22 years with Jacksonville, Florida’s Public Schools as an elementary and high school counselor, middle school teacher and Supervisor of Guidance Services. She supervised 225 school counselors. Dr. Stone was ASCAs Ethics Chair from 2002 to 2022 and chaired the last four revisions of the ethical standards.

Carolyn's Sessions

School counselors must negotiate the competing interests of the overregulated school environment, student’s need for confidentiality and the legal rights of parents to be the guiding voice in their children lives. Updates on these competing interests will be discussed through recent court developments. Legal rulings will be highlighted in areas such as sexually active students, bullying, academic advising, child abuse, educational records, and sexual harassment, first amendment rights, and transgender youth. The goal is to facilitate participants’ legal literacy and provide guiding principles to support best ethical practice.

Carolyn's Workshops

School counselors can be powerful strategists and formidable advocates when applying legal muscle to problems that impact youth who are victims of trauma. Intervening on behalf of students is infinitely easier if there is a law that provides leverage. This session focuses on the legal rights of students who have experienced trauma such as domestic violence, abuse, homelessness, foster care, sex trafficking, and bullying.

The school environment poses competing interests between a student’s need for confidentiality and the legal rights of parents as established by the U.S. Supreme Court to be the guiding voice in their children lives in value-laden issues. Participants will develop an ethical decision making framework for analyzing and resolving ethical issues through the application of ASCA ethical codes, case and statutory law, school board rules, and community standards. Through small group and large group discussion of 40 case studies, participants will be given the opportunity to increase their understanding of the complexities of respecting a minor’s right to confidentiality, to develop a sensitivity to the need to consider their actions in context of each situation for each individual student, and to understand the rights of parents.

School counselors must negotiate the competing interests of the overregulated school environment, student’s need for confidentiality and the legal rights of parents to be the guiding voice in their children lives. Updates on these competing interests will be discussed through 10 primary court rulings that guide legal work of counselors in schools. Legal rulings will be highlighted in areas such as sexually active students, bullying, academic advising, child abuse, educational records, sexual harassment, first amendment rights, and transgender youth. Particular attention will be given to the developing laws regarding off-campus cyber speech and other uses of social media that are difficult to address without offending the first amendment. Through case study and the application of federal, state, and judge made laws, participants will actively dialogue in a lively forum. The goal is to facilitate participants’ legal literacy and provide guiding principles to support best ethical practice.

Counselors who work in schools must negotiate the competing interests of the overregulated school environment, student’s need for confidentiality and the legal rights of parents to be the guiding voice in their children lives. Updates on these competing interests will be discussed through 10 primary court rulings that guide legal work of counselors in schools. Legal rulings will be highlighted in areas such as sexually active students, bullying, academic advising, child abuse, educational records, sexual harassment, first amendment rights, cyber speech, and transgender youth. The goal is to facilitate participants’ legal literacy and provide guiding principles to support best ethical practice.

School counselors and Principals are powerful allies in delivering strategies that impact critical data elements. These powerful alliances all over the nation have demonstrated through impact data that their collaboration has resulted in moving critical data elements in a positive direction. This presentation focuses on actual school counselor/principal alliances doing practical work to impact the opportunity and information gaps resulting in moving the achievement gap in a positive direction. Counselors aligning with principals all over America are reporting hard data to show how students are different and the achievement gap lessened because their principal and counselor have partnered to advantage students’ academic success. Data will be presented from school counseling programs that have used an accountability system to impact course enrollment patterns, attendance, promotion/retention, discipline referrals, grades, standardized test scores and other measurable indicators of success. Participants will identify data goals.

This presentation will provide participants with current legal and ethical practices around school counselor behavior when working with sexually active students. School counselors function in an environment regulated by state and federal laws, court decisions, certification and school board rules. Using case scenarios, participants will explore and demystify some of the legal complexities of counseling sexually active minors in schools through the application of the ASCA code of ethics, federal law, case law, state statutes, community standards and school board rules. Topics will include: notifying parents of their child’s pregnancy; pregnant students and state and federal law; pregnancy as a temporary disability; sexually active students and school counselors’ values; aiding a student to get an abortion; statutory rape and child abuse; sexual violence and dating violence among students.

This session will discuss how the courts and the code of ethics support school counselors in their advocacy role for LGBTQ. Recent court rulings give us guidance on transgender youth and: 1) dress that matches their gender identity; 2) gender neutral pronouns; 3) gender identity name that is not the legal name; 4) parental involvement when a student wants confidentiality. Court rulings will be discussed involving students who: 1) want to bring same sex partners to the prom; 2) are bullied for non conforming gender expressing; 3) request dress for a year book photo that does not match their birth gender; 4) want to start a GSA club; and, 5) school officials believed made themselves a target with non conforming gender expression. Other topics and court rulings will be discussed as courts continue to wrestle with how school officials must behave toward LGBTQ Youth.

School counselors can be powerful strategists when applying legal muscle to problems that impact the educational environment.  Federal and case law can protect marginalized youth, yet, there are still laws that can hinder counselors’ advocacy efforts.  Intervening on behalf of students is infinitely easier if there is a law that provides leverage.  This session focuses on the rights of students who are gay or transgender, students in foster care, pregnant students, victims of dating violence, sexual harassment. or bullying.  Legal understanding coupled with our ethical imperative to advocate is a formidable combination and increases the odds that counselors will have sway in systemic change and individual support.

School counselors know and accept without equivocation their responsibility in suicide intervention.  The role is clear and appropriate given the hundreds of students for whom they are responsible.  Any time it comes to the attention of the school counselor that a child is in danger of suicide the absolute obligation is to call parents/guardians.  Counselors do not wait for certainty, rather, even a remote possibility of suicide is enough to establish duty.  However, more and more school districts are requiring school counselors to do the impossible, quantify suicide.  Determining the lethality of suicide is problematic on so many levels not the least of which is the fallibility of assessing suicidal risk.  This presentation will discuss the standard of care for school counselors when being required by others to quantify suicide risk.  Court cases will be discussed which cement the dangers in trying to quantify suicide. Participants will gain information about best practices in working with students who might possibly be suicidal.

School counselors enjoy protected speech as given to them by the First Amendment. Yet, school counselors’ position of trust and authority can result in having their speech checked at home and at the schoolhouse door. Case law has implications for school counselors’ verbal, symbolic, and written expression. Can school counselors display in their office support for LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter, the preservation of Confederate statutes? Can their diversity curriculum have a decided point of view and if so whose? Courts have issued case law guidance ranging from personal social media use to public rantings against school board policies and everything in between. School counselors’ voices are critical and made more powerful when they know and honor their limitations and freedom to speak. 

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is the equal access to education law.  It covers so much more than equity in sports.  The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (USDOE OCR) governs Title IX and gives school counselors legal muscle to advocate for students in these areas: sexual discrimination; bullying based on race, color, sex, national origin; transgender students, gay students, dating violence; and pregnant students.  Court rulings have further clarified the legal definition of Title IX and how this legislation aids school counselors in advocating for equal access for all students.  Participants will learn how to recognize Title IX violations and how to politically astutely advocate with legal muscle for a remedy.