Day Two of National School Counselors Week - Celebrate what you decorated today!
On Friday, January 30, SDCA hosted Day on the Hill. Those in attendance were able to meet with legislators to discuss the bills currently effecting counseling and school counseling. The biggest one effecting school counseling is HB 1077. This would give parents the right to ask the school counselor to tell them everything their child told them when the school counselor met with their child, if the child is under the age of 16. If this becomes law we will have a choice: either break the law and go to jail or violate our code of ethics and be out a job. Luckily, we have a lot of support from legislators and quite a few on the Education Committee. Keep writing your legislators. Many of them knew about the bill on Friday because they received e-mails, notes, and phone calls about HB 1077. There was one legislator who was completely overwhelmed and taken aback from all of the mail he received on this bill. After learning more about the bill he was at a clear understanding about how detrimental this bill could be to school counselors and eventually all counselors. Yay! However, there was another legislator who called a counselor, not sure if it was from a school or mental health center, from his district to discuss HB 1077 and the counselor told him there was nothing wrong with the bill and it could benefit the profession. We have made such great strides but clearly we have some work to do. Keep up the great work!
Right now the bill was deferred for later discussion in the Education Committee. When the Education Committee hears the bill next there are expected to be some amendments attached to it that would lower the age of parental consent from 16 to 14 or even 12. Either Friday (February 6) or sometime the week after we will be traveling back to Pierre to testify against HB 1077 regardless of the amendments. We usually have about 24-48 hour notice when a bill is coming up in committee. If you are able to swing this kind of timeline please join us in the committee hearing. Even if you are not comfortable testifying we need supportive bodies. One member of the Education Committee said that we should pack the room with school counselors so that those on the committee who don’t “get it” maybe will get it seeing all of us there!
An Area of Specialty of the South Dakota Counseling Association
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