While the personal information shared by students in class should remain in the classroom, educators need to inform students that there are limits to teacher-student confidentiality. Students must be informed that if they disclose personal information indicating they are at risk of harm to themselves or others, this information cannot be kept wholly confidential: the educator may be required to contact other officials or professionals.
When talking with students about personal matters, make it clear that there are limitations to confidentiality. Depending on what the student tells you, you may need to report it to the Children’s Aid Society or the school principal. The principal may be required to call the student’s parents or involve the policei.
The Child and Family Services Act states that, if educators have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is may be in need of protection, they must promptly report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to a Children’s Aid Societyii. If this situation arises, educators should seek support from their administrator to fulfil their duty to report.
i Ontario Ministry of Education. (2012). PPM 145 - Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour. Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/145.pdf
ii Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. (2013). Reporting child abuse and neglect: It's your duty [web page content]. Retrieved from: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/childrensaid/reportingabuse/abuseandneglect/abuseandneglect.aspx