Student/Patient Confidentiality - Where would you say it ends?

"Girls at ‘Jane’s’ local high school terrorized her. It started as name calling and spitting, and then progressed to bullying through MSN Messenger.

At a Toronto health centre, she told a counselor about the bullying incidents and also shared her desire to “kill” the bullies, along with a “plan” for getting back at the main bully.

The crisis counselor then called the police on Jane, worried about the severity of the threat.

Jane was jailed, released two weeks later under strict conditions, and was eventually acquitted.

So here's my question:

If Jane had confided in you as a teacher, would you have notified the police about her murder fantasies, risking further psychological and emotional issues? Or would you discard them as justified and at the same time, negligible?

Where should a patient’s or student's expectation of confidentiality start and end?

Article source: Kiwi Commons

Tags: bully, confidentiality, cyberbullying, victim

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The details in this anecdote are vague. Too vague to make the important decision of getting the police involved. After getting as much information as I could from the child, I would refer her to the guidance counselor who would then conduct a risk assessment of the situation and use that protocol to decide on the next course of action.



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