I finished the last final of the quarter (Laws & Ethics Relating to Child and Family) midday on Wednesday, turned it in and discussed the answers later in the afternoon, so I know I got 45/50. There was no serious discussion of all the issues this time, so my answers and score will stand unless an item analysis shows that the majority of students missed a question. I had an A on the midterm, so hopefully that is still an A for the course.
I missed one on account of carelessness and failing eyesight- underlined the right answer, but eyes skipped upward to see and then write the wrong letter in the margin. I subsequently marked that same wrong letter to the scantron sheet. I missed 3 because I really didn't know/have the correct answer (and I should have done better on an open text, use all reference, test). And for one question I would choose the same answer again, but understand why the professor believes his is the correct one.
That question was "True or False? If there were a conflict between the ethical and legal course of action to follow in a case I would always give priority to ethics." The choice that will be counted correct is False and most of my classmates chose that answer.
I answered True and here is why.
I would break the law in certain circumstances to NOT violate my ethics- professional or personal. My guess is that most often the law would likely outweigh any professional ethics in any situation that might arise. Those ethics don't require me to break laws, only possibly bend them in some cases around certain issues. But my personal ethics versus the law are something else entirely.
To follow like a sheep because something is law, when you believe that same something is wrong- IS wrong to me. When dealing in gray areas, I think people ought to seriously consider all ramifications, weighing everything, and not just blindly follow some legal statute or case law. Everything ought to be considered on a case by case, situation by situation basis. I am not talking about avoiding consequences, I am talking about doing what one believes is the right thing to do- for self, for others- no matter the law or the consequences.
Now I happen to know that what the professor had in mind was Tarasoff as well as the child abuse reporting laws that exist in every state in the Union. I would violate client confidentiality to report those things. All ethics codes as a trainee and future professional in any of the helping professions as well as my own personal ethics, agree with those laws. But I can't say the same for every other law that might exist now or in the future.