Disruptive Behavior Defined
Behavior that interferes with other students, faculty, or staff and their access to an appropriate educational or work environment is considered disruptive. These behaviors are usually a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Examples of Disruptive Behavior
- Yelling or screaming
- Persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention
- Words or actions that have the effect of intimidating or harassing another
- Words or actions that cause another to fear for his/her personal safety
- Threats of physical assault
Dealing with Disruptive Behavior
Remain calm. Many disruptive situations involve anger. Recognize that the period of peak anger usually lasts 20–30 seconds. If the person de-escalates, then you can refer to the Dos and Don'ts listed for further steps to resolve the conflict. If, however, the person does not de-escalate, then you may need to remove yourself from the situation and contact Campus Police.
Documenting Disruptive Behavior
Disruptive behavior should be documented. Write a factual, detailed account of what occurred. Use concrete terms.
What to Do
- Do allow the person to vent and tell you what is upsetting him/her. Use silence to allow the person to talk it out.
- Do acknowledge the feelings of the individual.
- Do set limits. Explain clearly and directly what behaviors are acceptable: “I will be willing to speak with you as soon as you lower your voice.”
- Do be firm, consistent, and honest.
- Do focus on what you can do to help resolve the situation.
- Do offer to make referrals. When possible, give the name of an individual who might be able to help.
- Do ask the student to leave the room if disruptive behavior persists.
- Do report the behavior to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and/or the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
What Not to Do
- Don't interrupt, particularly during the first 20–30 seconds of peak anger.
- Don't minimize the situation.
- Don't get into an argument or shouting match.
- Don't blame, ridicule, or use sarcasm.
- Don't touch.
- Don't ignore safety issues if the person is becoming more agitated.
- Don't assume you can resolve all situations; call for assistance when needed.