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Dealing with Disruptive and Distressed Students 

Disruptive classroom behavior by students has become an issue of concern to faculty at colleges and universities across the nation. Unfortunately, more students believe it is appropriate to engage in behavior which is disruptive and/or threatening, or come to the College without necessary coping skills which allow them to deal with conflict in more constructive ways. 

The Office of Student Conduct offers multiple options for dealing with these issues, including mediation, informal discussions, and sanctions. In order to assist faculty, the following guidelines have been developed to help faculty respond to these situations.

Disruptive Student Behavior Guide Download

Download our faculty and teaching assistant guide:
What's a Professor to Do?: Tips for Addressing Rude & Disruptive Classroom Behavior 





Guidelines For Dealing With Disruptive Behavior

  1. State clear behavioral expectations in the beginning of the semester, and establish control over the classroom environment.
  2. Cite the Code of Student Conduct as a means of interpretation and enforcement. Recognize the difference between disruption and academic freedom.
  3. Deal with rudeness privately and calmly.
  4. Serve as a role model for your students.
  5. Attempt informal, non-public resolutions whenever possible.
  6. When you must confront behavior publicly, separate the person from the behavior and confront the situation firmly but calmly.
  7. When removing a student from the class for inappropriate behavior, do so only for the remainder of that class period and the following class period. Report the incident to the Office of Student Conduct. Office of Student Conduct will engage the student in the campus student conduct process.
  8. Consult with your department chairperson/division chair and the Office of Student Conduct whenever disruptions occur, even if they seem minor. No action need be taken immediately, but it is helpful to have all incidents recorded.
  9. In the event of serious disruptions, contact the University Police and provide a full written account of the incident.
  10. Remember that the Office of Student Conduct has several different methods of dealing with disruptive behavior, depending on the seriousness of the situation and your own preferences. You may contact Office of Student Conduct at any time at 4-5590.
  11. The Office of Student Conduct is willing to provide informational sessions on this and other subject areas to departments/units by request.

 (Reference: Illinois State University)