Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom
If a student's disruptive behavior interferes with instruction or creates an environment that is disturbing to classmates, a faculty member has the responsibility to address the issue. Faculty members should follow these tips when handling disruptive behavior:
- Be proactive. It is imperative to provide clear behavioral expectations to students in the syllabus and throughout the semester.
- Be courteous and firm when responding to classroom disruption.
- Address the entire class, asking the group to refocus on the topic at hand. An announcement can be made to stop side conversations and focus on the coursework.
- If the behavior persists, direct the disrupting student to stop the behavior. Follow up with the student after class to explain why the behavior was inappropriate for the classroom setting.
- If the situation escalates or becomes threatening or intimidating, direct the student to leave the classroom. If the student refuses, use your judgment to adjourn class early and/or call the University Police Department for assistance at 713-525-3888.
Violent Acts or Threats on Campus
- If you see or are alerted to a person with violent, dangerously, disruptive or threatening behavior, call 9-1-1 or the University Police Department. You should request a University Police Department officer to address the situation and give as much information as you can, including your specific location.
- While waiting for the officer, barricade yourself and others in the nearest safe location away from the aggressor.
Learn more about responding to violent intruders.
Students in Distress
College can be stressful for students. The work load, the pressure of making new friends and being away from home can be a lot to handle. Some students become distressed and need a healthy way to express the anxiety they may be feeling. Whether a student is openly distraught or privately grieving, take a look at the distress indicators to help accordingly. Counseling and Disability Services are always available for those that need help in any capacity.
What Faculty & Staff can do for students in distress:
As a UST faculty or staff member, you play a major role in recognizing and helping students who may be going through a crisis.
- Read these tips to find out what to do and who to contact when you identify a student in distress.
Choosing to talk to students:
Best practices for university and college counseling centers indicate that faculty and staff can be helpful to students and often may be one of the first people to be aware of a student’s distress
Emergency preparedness is important in every classroom as each building has different challenges, and different classes may have people with special needs.
Presenting the optional Emergency Preparedness insert as part of your syllabus gives faculty the opportunity to discuss:
- Response for fire
- Emergency exits, evacuation routes and meeting locations
- Suspicious packages
- Severe weather plans
- Violence or active shooter responses
- Emergency updates through UST Alerts
Download the optional syllabus insert to present with your class materials.