The Birmingham News has claimed that Alabama lawmakers have filed a bill to ban the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) standards in public schools. They further cited that these standards have “been used in Alabama schools for 19 years.” Birmingham continues to suggest that these standards were used in Alabama’s counseling model in 2003.
Dr. Amy Upton, president of the Alabama chapter of the ASCA and assistant professor in the University of South Alabama’s Department of Professional Studies School Counseling, echoed a tweet from Dr. Sandi Logan-McKibben claiming that this legislation effectively cancels school counseling completely in Alabama.
HB 457 does prohibit the ASCA’s national standards and competency indicators by rote in K-12 public schools, and any standards or lessons that explicitly promote or endorse the ASCA’s standards:
However, both claims that the ASCA standards are the same that built Alabama’s counseling standards in 2003 and that this bill would ban school counseling are false.
The ASCA has revised standards several times throughout the 2000s and 2010s, instituting several new programs and policies regarding sex education, gender dysphoria, school-based treatment, abortion, restorative justice, and political language. The guidelines Alabama used to build its school counseling standards are not the ASCA version from 2004-onward.
Furthermore, nowhere in HB 457’s three pages is it stated that schools must abandon counseling, hiring counselors, or cease assisting or communicating with students in a counseling fashion. Only programs managed and directed by the ASCA would be restricted, with a focus on the ASCA’s pedagogy and philosophy as opposed to the functions of “counseling”.