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What's a School Counselor to Do?

Question

Hi John,

I'm a K-12 School Counselor and schools today have many challenges. One of them involves working with kids in junior high and high school who are failing, school is not working for them, and they have shut down, don't care, become oppositional, refuse to try and refuse to participate, refuse to sit in class and do assignments, etc. We see kids refuse to do any school work and they fail their classes and this does not change anything. They don't care that they failed all of their classes last semester.

We see the parent then side with the child and blame the system, blame the teacher, or blame classmates and there is talk around town about suing the school, pulling the child out of the school and homeschooling them, pulling the child out of school and placing them in "online" school, or seeking some kind of alternative school, moving out of town, and on and on.

When there are difficult problems and issues the first step in the process is to have the child go to a counselor or psychologist for counseling.

Many well meaning counselors, psychologists, and principals try to talk to the child and "set him straight" by having a rational discussion or even a heavy handed "you better get your life together or you'll end up in prison" type of confrontation and the kids don't respond.

It's not working. I guarantee you if you drive down the street today and drive by a school there are problems, issues, or things that are very serious and no one knows what to do.

As a counselor I want to be able to address this and help the child and the parents.

Any and all suggestions would be welcome and appreciated!

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