If you are an instructor and a student enrolled in your class is disruptive:
- Make sure your syllabus notes your classroom management policy.
- Provide the student a warning for the first offense and keep documentation of the event, should it escalate.
- If the behavior continues, you may suspend the student for one day and should file a student conduct report with the Student Conduct Officer; make sure to include your documentation of the conduct issue(s) and prior action(s) taken.
Signs of Student Distress
A student in distress may not be disruptive to others, but may exhibit behaviors which indicate something is wrong, show signs of emotional distress and indicate that assistance is needed. They may also be reluctant or unable to acknowledge a need for personal help. Behaviors may include:
- Serious grade problems or a change from consistently passing grades to unaccountably poor performance
- Excessive absences, especially if the student has previously demonstrated consistent attendance
- Unusual or markedly changed patterns of interaction, for example: avoidance of participation, excessive anxiety when called upon, domination of discussions, etcetera.
- Other characteristics that suggest the student is having trouble managing stress successfully, for example: a depressed, lethargic mood, very rapid speech, swollen, red eyes, marked change in personal dress and hygiene or falling asleep during class.
- Repeated requests for special consideration such as deadline extensions, especially if the student appears uncomfortable or highly emotional while disclosing the circumstances prompting the request.
- New or repeated behavior which pushes the limits of decorum and which interferes with effective management of the immediate environment. Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses which are obviously inappropriate to the situation.
Responding to a Disruptive Student
Remain calm and know who to call for help, if necessary. Find someone to stay with the student while calls to the appropriate resources are made.
Remember that it is not your responsibility to provide the professional help needed for a severely troubled or disruptive student. You need only to make the necessary call and request assistance. When a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or others, or acts in a bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, call Campus Safety at 253-833-9111 ext. 3350.