The classroom should be a place where students and faculty members feel safe .
Faculty members are responsible for the management of the classroom environment . Faculty should initially develop an atmosphere of mutual trust by providing and communicating clear and firm expectations for classroom decorum and what behaviors are unacceptable.
(If students know beforehand what types of behaviors are inappropriate, they may modify their behavior and avoid further problems. Early and consistent enforcement of established standards may prevent escalation of behavioral problems).
Communication: In the absence of clear guides to classroom behavior, some students have no idea what behaviors are inappropriate. Faculty should make clear to students (preferably both orally and in writing) that the classroom environment is a special one, with special normative behaviors. Syllabi distributed and discussed at the first class session are an important tool for communicating these precepts.
Most students appreciate having limits clearly articulated and enforced: Those limits can include: phones and beepers turned off; no leaving class for calls; a request that students visit bathrooms before or after class, not during; no talking while the instructor is talking; no sleeping; questions to be directed to the instructor; no reading of materials unrelated to the class; no use of laptop computers other than for taking notes, persistent interruption of other speakers, , NO physical threats,NO harassing behavior or personal insults, or refusal to comply with faculty direction, NO abusive, profane, intimidating or threatening language, NO moving about the classroom without authorization. etc.
No matter what you do , from time to time instructors have a student who is truly disruptive in the classroom, making it difficult or impossible for teaching to take place. The following guidelines will assist instructors in dealing with these situations from a student discipline perspective, What do you do?
I f the safety of the classroom is in jeopardy, the faculty member should immediately contact the security office (PICK UP RED PHONE). The office will dispatch appropriate peace officers to intervene in the situation. The peace officers will need as much information as possible regarding the nature, severity, and source of the threat.
Some disruptive students may have emotional or mental disorders. Although disruptive students may have emotional or mental disorders protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1973, they are expected to meet the same standards of conduct as any student.
There may be situations occurring outside of the classroom where instructors feel threatened or very uncomfortable with a student's behavior. It is important that such behavior be reported to the office of student affairs, so that appropriate interventions can be made before the situation escalates. I f, at anytime, the instructor believes the student poses a physical threat to him/her or to other students, security should be called .
I nstructors have the right to tell a student who is disrupting class to leave the class for that particular class period. In extreme cases, campus security can be called to remove the student. Instructors may not remove a student from the whole course (that is, kick him/her out for the rest of the semester) without due process .
If a student's behavior is disruptive, the faculty member should ask him/her to stop. As suggested above, the key is communication: disruptions show disrespect for the instructor, fellow students, and the educational environment. If the disruptions persist, asking a student to change seats is reasonable, as is asking him/her to leave the classroom. If necessary, Security can be called to insure that a student leaves as requested.