As a school counselor student advocate, I would at times advocate for students and find students fearful about my advocacy. On one occasion, an African- American male student requested a schedule change that would have removed him from an honors- level class, placing him in an average- level class. After reviewing the student's academic records, speaking with teachers regarding his academic performance and potential, and reviewing the student's goal to attend college, I denied the student's request. I explained to the student that, when I compared his previous academic performance to his present performance ( e. g., lack of effort evidenced by missed assignments and poor attendance), it was clear that his poor performance was not because he could not do the work, but because he chose not to do the work. The student and his parents were not happy with my decision and went to the principal to appeal my decision. I was immediately summoned to the principal's office. After my decision. I was immediately summoned to the principal's office. After explaining how and why I made the decision I did ( sharing with the principal the information from teachers, student records, and the student's desire to attend college), the principal informed me. As a counselor you are oftentimes the student's last hope. Therefore, you should be advocating for the student. I was stunned that the principal could not see that I was being an advocate for the student. I was very confident that the student could handle the work in the upper- level course, and this course would strengthen the student's chances of being admitted into college. It was for this reason that I did not honor the student's request. In the end, the principal honored the student's request. Think: Based on your knowledge of school counseling and advocacy, how would you have handled this situation? How do the professional school counselor and the principal differ in how they perceive and use advocacy? What advocacy strategies could the school counseling program develop if this situation arises in the future?
Based on your knowledge of school counseling and advocacy, how would you have handled this situation?
I have been in this situation many times and in the end we must acquiesce to the wishes of the parent and student. When a student approaches me with their need to change classes, one of the first things I investigate is who is in that class. If I find that it is merely a matter of them joining up with their group of friends I immediately call in the parents. I show them the student's statistics - grades, test scores and teacher recommendations, which were used to make sure that the student was placed appropriately. More than likely they will support you in the decision to keep the student enrolled in the more advanced class.
However, if they are still determined to have the student transferred out of the class, it is time to look at all of the extenuating circumstances. Don't wait for the parents to call the principal, let the principal know in advance, that there is a problem. By doing so, he/she will not be blindsided by an irate parent. You will also have his/her support to reassure the parents that the school has the best academic interests of the student ...
One's knowledge of school counseling and advocacy is clearly applied to a case.