Ethical and Legal Considerations When Patients Disclose Knowledge of a Weapon in a School


Steadman, J.L. (2021). Ethical and legal considerations when patients disclose knowledge of a weapon in a school. Journal of Health Service Psychology.


In the modern era, concerns over school-related gun violence are as high as ever. In their clinical work, psychologists who work with youth may encounter reports of real threats of gun violence at school. In this article, the author presents a case vignette in which a middle-school client reports having documented knowledge that a peer brought a gun to school. The author explores the ethical decision-making and other practical considerations in choosing to intervene and report the gun possession to school personnel. The author outlines not only measures to protect the client but also considerations in protecting and advocating for the student who actually brought the gun to school.

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