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Classrooms or offices can sometimes be disrupted by individuals who are angry or troubled. This information is intended only as a general guide for faculty and staff when dealing with disruptive individuals in their work environments.
A DISRUPTIVE INDIVIDUAL may be someone who:
- Makes threats of physical harm to you, others or themselves.
- Has a weapon. (Refer to Armed Subjects Protocol on reverse side)
- Behaves in a bizarre manner or exhibits unstable behavior patterns.
- Appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
STEPS TO TAKE when dealing with a disruptive individual:
- Contact the USTPD at (713) 525-3888 from a campus phone Ext. 3888.
- Give your name, location and a brief explanation of the situation.
- If possible, give police the name and/or description of the individual involved.
EXPRESS YOUR AUTHORITY with non-verbal cues:
- Maintain a confident posture.
- Try to appear calm and in control of the conversation.
- Smile and make eye contact with the person.
- Speak in a clear, calm and consistent tone of voice.
BEHAVIOR CUES TO AVOID:
- Do not touch your face.
- Observe the individual’s personal space- do not stand too close.
- Do not touch the person or attempt to restrain them.
- Do not sign or glare at the individual.
GENERAL ANGER MANAGEMENT TACTICS:
- Get the individual’s attention: Use their name and ask them to sit down
- Acknowledge their feelings: Paraphrase what they say, so they will know you are listening.
- Offer assistance. Use the word “we” to include the individual in the solution process.
- Offer alternatives or solutions to the individual.
- Tell the individual how and when you can help.
- If possible, offer to talk to the person in a more private setting. Disruptive situations can often be de-escalated by moving the individual into a less public area. Let others know if you take the individual to a more private setting.