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Seeing the Counselor
Q: A fellow student, who is having issues, selected my fourth-grade daughter as a safe person to talk to. The school guidance counselor is pulling them from having lunch in the cafeteria to eating in her office to chat and play games. I called the school and they told me that they do not need my permission in this type of situation. They would only need my permission if it were a one-on-one with the counselor. Don't I have the right to approve this type of scenario?
A: Requirements for getting parent consent before working with the school counselor vary from state to state and from school district to school district. In many places in the country no parent consent is required to see the counselor for any reason, because what the school counselor does is viewed as part of the curriculum and services to students.
On the other hand, even though consent may not be required, most counselors will not work with a child if they have been informed that the parent does not want that to happen. You are free to tell the counselor that you do not want your daughter to be a peer helper and to have lunch in her office.
Your objection to this scenario is unclear -- it's obvious that your daughter is considered a leader and a good friend to be chosen to help in this way. Most school counselors do not work with individual students on a long-term basis, so these lunch get-togethers will probably last only a few sessions.
If you have concerns, call the school again and talk directly with the counselor. She will not be able to talk with you about the other child, but she will be able to answer any questions you may have about your daughter's involvement.
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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.