Disturbing Student Behavior
Identifying Disturbing Behavior
Disturbing behavior usually causes us to feel concerned, alarmed, afraid or frustrated. Disturbing behavior of a student may or may not mean that there is a negative impact on other students, the professor’s ability to teach the class, or the implementation of other professionals’ roles in the University. However, it may indicate that a particular student is having difficulties that affect his/her academic performance.
Examples of disturbing behavior may include such things as:
- A student who jokes about killing himself.
- A student who perspires profusely when giving a talk in front of the class.
- A student who discloses that his/her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- A student who seems to work harder than most students but can’t pass an exam.
- A student who appears to be losing significant weight yet speaks with pride about how little she/he eats.
- A student who’s writing appears to be disjointed and fragmented, as though he/she cannot maintain a logical sequence in his/her thoughts processes.
- A student who reports that FBI agents are following him/her around campus.
Interventions for Disturbing Behavior
Clearly, faculty and staff have options for responding to student behavior they find to be disturbing, which are as follows:
- You can do nothing
- You can have a private conversation with the student about the behavior that concerns you
- Should the disturbing behavior cause a negative impact on the class or other students, then expectations should be given to the student so you as the instructor can continue to create a positive classroom environment for participants in your course. If the behavior were to continue then you should consult with other professionals on campus, which include the following:
- Department Chair/Dean – It is very possible they have dealt with situations like this and can give you valuable advice
- Counseling Services (277-4537) – An office that can be an invaluable resource in dealing with disturbing behavior. This office may also be helpful for the student that may be exhibiting disturbing behavior.
- Dean of Students Office (277-3361) – This office can be helpful in assisting you through the process or referring you to the appropriate departments to speak with.
- Accessibility Resource Center (277-3506) – This office can be helpful in helping faculty or staff understand how to deal with students with disabilities that may cause disruptive behavior and can become a resource for the student as well.
- If the disruptive behavior were to continue after assistance from the one or more of the above areas, it may be necessary to drop the student from your course. Please consult with your Chair/Dean prior to taking this measure.