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Unit 2: Legal and Ethical Issues for Paraeducators

Paraeducators function as a member of a team and have a special relationship with teachers, other school personnel, students, parents, and the community. The quality of these relationships depends not only on the work performed, but also on the ethical behavior demonstrated on the job. Paraeducators are faced with ethical issues on a daily basis, including confidentiality, record management, and the demands placed on them by teachers and staff. Therefore, it is important that paraeducators are exposed to and discuss ethical guidelines.

This unit will cover a code of ethics as it relates to working with students, teachers, the school, and the community. Selected readings will give the paraeducator insight into what it means to abide by a code of ethics and why professionals adopt a code of ethics. A pretest and posttest will enable the paraeducator to assess their own knowledge of ethical concerns, including confidentiality of information and records concerning students and parents. Case studies and value oriented worksheets are provided to let the paraeducator explore their ethical beliefs. Paraeducators are encouraged to investigate the topic and discuss ethical issues with their supervisor and colleagues.


  1. Paraeducators will demonstrate knowledge of ethical guidelines relating to students and parents.
  2. Paraeducators will demonstrate knowledge of ethical guidelines regarding teachers and staff.
  3. Paraeducators will demonstrate a working knowledge of ethical behavior regarding the school and community.



- Pretest


-Lesson 1: Ethics
  • What Are Ethical Standards?
  • Considerations For Working with Students with Disabilities

-Lesson 2: Advocating for Students
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Advocating for Students with Disabilities

-Lesson 3: Confidentiality
  • Confidentiality Laws
  • Record Management
  • Confidential or Not?
  • Confidentiality Worksheet

-Lesson 4: Ethical Relationships with the School

-Lesson 5: Practice and Discussion Activities
  • Ethical Decision Situations

Learning Activities

- Activity 1: Advocacy
- Activity 2: Case #1: Susan, the inclusion paraeducator
- Activity 3: Case #2: Rob, the resource paraeducator
- Activity 4: Case #3: Mrs. Matthews, a volunteer paraeducator & Sandy, 2nd grade paraeducator

Post Test

-Unit 2 Post Test

Additional Information & Activities

- Suggestions for Further Reading

Related Practicum Activities

- Practicum Activity