As one of its core missions, TSCA provides Legislative advocacy for Tennessee School Counselors. 

SB371/HB1001 is Gaining Traction!

Sen. Campbell (Nashville) and Rep. Love (Nashville) are working to lower the ratio for school counselors in all grades to 1:350. While TSCA's ultimate goal is to have ratios of 1:250 guaranteed in the state's BEP, this legislation is an important start to providing our students with needed access to academic, career, and mental health support. We urge you to reach out to your local legislators and tell them your personal experiences with overwhelming ratios in your school, especially our K-6 school counselors.

SB371/HB1001 has passed the requisite education committees and will now be discussed by the Ways and Means committees in both the House and Senate. See below for tips on advocating and a list of legislators who need to be contacted.

Tips for Advocating with Legislators

  • It is important to reach out to your local Senators and Representatives who sit on the Ways and Means Committees. Legislators want to hear from their constituents about local needs.
  • Include TSCA's talking points in your email and/or phone calls, but also share personal stories about the challenges you face in your work because of large ratios/caseloads.
  • When you reach out to your legislators, do so from your personal email address and/or phone.

Talking Points for SB371/HB1001

  • School counselors have long been considered an integral part of a school’s support system and bring a wealth of insight and resources to a variety of student-centered issues. They are part of a school support team that provides essential social-emotional support in addition to academic support.
  • The BEP Committee recommends that additional funds be allocated within the BEP formula to bring Tennessee’s counselor to student ratio into closer alignment with national best practices. This legislation, as amended, is simply a reflection of the BEP Committee recommendation. While the goal is a ratio of 1:250 for K-12, this is a good first step.
  • Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for years to come, the ratio reduction for K-6 schools aligns with the education special session's attention to learning loss in elementary age students. This learning loss includes the skills needed for academic and career success gained through delivery of comprehensive school counseling programs.
  • The BEP funding for lower school counselor ratios must be guaranteed so that school districts use the funds as designated.
  • "Studies show a $7 return for each $1 spent on programs targeting the earliest years of development". Source:

Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee

Chair Sen. Bo Watson: (615) 741-3227

1st Vice Chair Sen. John Stevens: (615) 741-4576

2nd Vice Chair Sen. Joey Hensley: (615) 741-3100

Sen. Todd Gardenhire: (615) 741-6682

Sen. Brenda Gilmore: (615) 741-2453

Sen. Ferrell Haile: (615) 741-1999 

Sen. Jack Johnson:  (615) 741-2495

Sen. Jon Lundberg: (615) 741-5761

Sen. Dawn White: (615) 741-6853 Sen. Ken Yager: (615) 741-1449

Sen. Jeff Yarbro: (615) 741-3291 

House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee

Chair Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (615)741-2746

Vice Chair Rep. Charlie Baum (615)741-6849

Rep. Scotty Campbell (615) 741-2050

Rep. Karen D Camper (615) 741-1898

Rep. John Crawford (615) 741-7623

Rep. Jeremy Faison (615) 741-6871

Rep. Bob Freeman (615) 741-0709

Rep. Ron M Gant            (615) 741-6890

Rep. Johnny Garrett (615) 741-3893

Rep. John Gillespie (615) 741-8201

Rep. David B Hawk   (615) 741-7482

Rep. Gary Hicks            (615) 741-7480

Rep. London Lamar (615) 741-3830 

Rep. William Lamberth (615) 741-1980

Rep. Susan Lynn         (615) 741-7462

Rep. Larry J Miller      (615) 741-4453

Rep. Brandon Ogles (615) 741-6808

Rep. Jerry Sexton     (615) 741-2534

Rep. Johnny Shaw   (615) 741-4538

Rep. Mike Sparks     (615) 741-6829

Rep. Chris Todd            (615) 741-7475

Rep. Sam Whitson   (615) 741-1864

Rep. Ryan Williams (615) 741-1875

Rep. John Mark Windle (615) 741-1260

Rep. Jason Zachary (615) 741-2264

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Frequently Asked Questions and Resources

Q: Can we refer to outside agencies?

A: Yes. Teachers, Principals and School Personnel – As enacted, authorizes a school counselor to refer or help facilitate a referral of a parent or legal guardian’s student to a counselor or therapist for mental health assessments or services. – Amends TCA Title 4; Title 49 and Title 63. Read more about SB 0341 here. 

Q: What are the guidelines regarding restraint of students?

A: You can read more restraint and isolation here.

Q: Do school counselors have privileged communication with students?

A: Currently in the state of Tennessee, privileged communication is provided between client and social worker, licensed professional counselor, psychologist, clergy, marriage and family therapist, and psychiatrist. There is no mention specifically of school counselors in the law. Very few states honor privileged communication between student and school counselor.  Learn more here:

Q: How long can school counselors work with students?

A: The American School Counselor Association's Ethical Standards (click here) state in Section A.1.b. and Section A.7.a. that school counselors provide services in a brief context. We do not provide therapy so short term, solution-focused counseling is best practice. Some counselors may have particular cases/situations where they see a student for longer periods of time as we may be the only support they are receiving. It is important that we help these families connect with other organizations and counseling resources for long term care.

TSCA is the state division of the American School Counselor Association.

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