Disruptive Students Behavior
my teaching experience, I have encountered at least one instance
of disruptive behavior in the classroom every single semester.
Many times these are innocent acts of frustrated, immature,
or troubled students. Some students are simply unfamiliar with
the standards of conduct and don't know how to act in a college
classroom. Others have inadequate coping skills and take their
frustration out on their classmates and/or their instructor.
Your job as an educator is to provide a safe and effective learning
environment for everyone. If the behavior of one student threatens
that safety and effectiveness for you or your students, you
need to take action. Often a simple reminder to the offending
student will suffice. However, there are times when more serious
action is called for.
Guidelines for Handling Disruptive
The following is from a flyer
(modified for this lesson) that outlines the guidelines for
handling disruptive student behavior at SBCC. In it you will
find answers to:
What is disruptive behavior?
According to the Standards of Student Conduct,
disruptive behavior can include, but is not limited to, the
abuse or threats
to personal or college property
Use of drugs
and alcohol on college premises
demands for time and attention
of a classroom, administrative or campus activity
The disruptive student is one who, through
his/her behavior or attitude, interferes with academic or administrative
activity on campus.
Disciplinary action is taken on the basis of explicit behavior
or attitude which is in violation of the Standards of Student
Conduct, regardless of the cause.
What action should you take if you encounter
Disruptions which are minor annoyances and non-threatening
are expected to cease upon the first request. Repeated behavior
will be handled according to the guidelines set forth in the
of Student Conduct. Note: These guidelines are applicable
to the classroom or to any administrative or campus-related
Inform the disruptive student:
of the appropriate
standard of behavior
disruptive behavior will not be tolerated because it is interfering
with the educational process or functioning of a campus activity
or depriving others of the right to learn, the right to service,
and/or the right to feel safe
or she will be reported to the Dean of Educational Programs
in CC-217 if the behavior continues. This verbal notice must
be followed up in writing with a copy given to the student
at the next class meeting.
If the behavior continues:
the right to ask the student to leave your class for the day
of removal and the next class meeting.
If the student
refuses to vacate the premises, call Security for assistance
at ext. 2264 during the day and ext. 2400 after 4:30 p.m.
conduct templates are available at this site. (link to templates
You must inform the Dean of Educational
Programs of your actions immediately in writing, providing him/her
with copies of any warning notices you have given to the student.
How should you report an incident of disruptive
behavior? Who should you call?
at ext. 2264 days or ext. 2400 after 4:30 p.m. if the student
appears threatening or dangerous.
Dean of Educational Programs at ext. 2278 days (in the evening,
dial "Operator" and ask for extension 2638) if the
student's behavior is disruptive but there is no imminent
danger (e.g., the student stopped the disruptive behavior
upon request, or the student is being referred for disciplinary
Health Services and Wellness at ext. 2298 from 8:00 a.m. to
6:30 p.m. M-Th. and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Fri. if you suspect
a student may be emotionally troubled, you feel other students
who were involved in or witnessed the incident need support,
if you need advice on interventions or would like to make
a referral on behalf of a student. Referrals should be accompanied
by a Student Referral Form available from the Counseling Office,
It is important that incidents of disruptive
behavior be reported so that the college can monitor and utilize
appropriate intervention to minimize the occurrences of disruptive
behavior. When referring or reporting disruptive behavior, be
specific, concise and describe observable behavior. Avoid evaluate
diagnosis. All verbal reports must be followed up in writing.
Referrals should be accompanied by a Student Referral Form available
from the Counseling Office, room SS-135, and the Dean of Educational
Programs, Room SS-260.
What happens after a disruptive incident
The Dean of Educational Programs at ext.
2278 handles disciplinary matters. The disciplinary action taken
will depend on the seriousness and complexity of the disruption.
Disciplinary sanctions range from reprimands to expulsion. The
individual reporting the incident will be kept informed of the
disposition of the case.
SBCC's Disruptive Student Response Team
In addressing the issue of disruptive student
behavior, SBCC has established a Disruptive Student Response
Team to ensure a quick response to a disruptive incident, rapid
dissemination of information and the development of effective
intervention strategies. Members of the Response Team include:
Dean, Educational Programs (ext. 2278) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
John DaFoe, Security Director
(ext. 2264) (email@example.com)
Jack Friedlander, Executive
Vice President Educational Programs (ext. 2579) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As you can see, disruptive behavior can
range from excessive talking in class to violent behavior. You
can find more information through the Student
Health Services & Wellness Program. They are a great
resource for you and your students to help understand and deal
with behavioral problems. The following is an example of the
types of literature they have available for you. It addresses
'red flags' for potentially violent behavior and steps to take.
SBCC Student Health Services & Wellness
Early Warning Signs of Potentially Violent Behavior
veiled, or conditional threats of harm
of violent behavior
a concealed weapon or flashing a weapon to test reactions
- Extreme interest in weapons
- Fascination with incidents of violence
- Paranoid behavior
- Moral righteousness
- Bizarre thoughts
- Expression of extreme desperation
- Unable to take criticism
- Disregard for the safety of others
- Being a loner
Communicating to defuse violence
- Project calmness. Move and speak slowly, quietly
- Be respectful.
- Be an empathetic listener. Encourage the person
to talk and listen carefully and patiently (this can be hard
when a person is ranting). Focus your attention on the person
- Sit close to the door. Don't get right in front
of the person. Maintain a relaxed posture.
- Acknowledge the person's feelings. Indicate that
you see the person is upset. You can validate the feeling without
condoning negative acts. (I understand you feel______, and it's
not ok to _______.)
- Form some bond/connection.
- Use delaying tactics to help person calm down.
(Offer a drink of water in a paper cup)
- Be reassuring and point out choices. Break problems
into smaller, more manageable pieces
- Call Security if you feel threatened at
- Be cold, apathetic, condescending, robotic (going
strictly by the rules without human factor)
- Reject all of the person's demands from the start
- Pose in challenging stances (hands on hips, crossing
arms). Try to avoid physical contact, finger-pointing, staring,
- Make sudden movements that could be seen as threatening.
Remember to move and speak slowly.
- Challenge, threaten, belittle or dare individual
- Criticize or act impatiently toward agitated
- Attempt to bargain with a threatening individual
- Make false statements or promises you can't keep
- Downplay the seriousness of the situation
- Try to focus on technical or complicated information
when emotions are high
- Take sides or agree with distortions
Take Heart! Dealing
with behavior problems is part of our job. Fortunately, it is
a very (very, very) small part. Just keep in mind that perhaps
the worst thing to do is to 'ignore it until it goes away'. It
never does on its own!
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