Disruptive Students

The behavior of the disruptive student may or may not include elements of disturbed behavior, but always negatively impacts those around him/her. The disruptive student makes it difficult for routine work or teaching to take place. Behaviors that may be considered disruptive include the following:
  • Behavior which persistently interferes with effective class management, including an inability to comply with the directives of the instructor.
  • Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive, or aggressive behavior, including argumentative questioning or monopolizing of classroom discussion.
  • Bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate for the situation (e.g., talking to something/someone that is not present).


Tips for dealing with the disruptive student

  • If there is no immediate threat, speak with the student privately and confidentially. Document all conversations.
  • Express your concern for their behavior, and set appropriate limits for their interactions with you in and out of the classroom.
  • Document each incident of inappropriate behavior and any witnesses to each incident.
  • If the student is disruptive in class, s/he may be asked to leave the classroom for the remainder of the period. In such a case, the faculty member should contact Judicial Affairs for further instructions regarding the student's potential return to the classroom.
  • If you wish to remove the student for longer than the remainder of the class period, you must contact the Dean of Students to file the appropriate forms so that the incident can be addressed through the judicial system. You can not remove a student for an extended period of time without making a referral to the Dean of Students.
  • Avoid escalating the situation; speak calmly and with concern. Avoid physical contact.


If the student is uncooperative in leaving the classroom, contact ETSU Police by calling 911 from a campus phone or 439-6900 from your cell phone. Do not delay assistance by calling The Counseling Center for assistance. Your first call should be to ETSU Police.
If the student poses an immediate danger to others, you may choose to dismiss the class while waiting for police intervention. Use good judgment to protect your safety and the safety of others. Avoid escalating the situation; speak calmly and with concern.