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ERIC Number: EJ981525
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0164-775X
A Professional Dilemma: Following the Principle or the Principal?
Zirkel, Perry A.
Communique, v40 n7 p10-11 May 2012
This article reports on a case that resulted in a published court decision which illustrates a dilemma at the intersection of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On first impression, the finding that teachers were operating based on professional principle seems to validate their actions. However, as the court's analysis makes clear, ethical norms and legal requirements do not always square with each other and when they point in different directions, the choice of the ethically higher road may entail adverse legal consequences. Moreover, upon closer examination, it is not clear that the principle of the best interest of the children--even if the state representative was incorrect in her implicit contention that administering the test was ultimately in the children's best interest--is the controlling ethical consideration in this case. This standard is indisputably the primary consideration in domestic relations, such as child custody cases, but its role in K-12 education is less pronounced and prominent. The professional personnel who face the potential conflict of this confluence include not only special education teachers but also school psychologists. The author concludes that professional personnel in schools should think twice before overrelying on principle. In cases like this one, school psychologists can, in accordance with the NASP ethical code, foster a school climate respectful of all persons, seeking and advocating a rational resolution among the teachers, the principal, and the parents for the benefit of students and other concerned parties.
National Association of School Psychologists. 4340 East West Highway Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301-657-0270; Fax: 301-657-0275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001