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Addressing Disruptive Behavior

  • Disruptive Behavior is conduct that materially and substantially interferes with or obstructs the teaching or learning process in the context of a classroom or educational setting.  

    Disruptive behavior is detrimental to the academic community because it interferes with the learning process, inhibits the ability of instructors to teach effectively, diverts university energy and resources away from the education mission and may indicate a significant level of personal problems or distress on the part of the disrupter. 

    Disruptive Behavior IS:

    • The student in your class who is persistently tardy or leaves early;
    • The student who talks incessantly while you are delivering a lecture;
    • The student who loudly and frequently interrupts the flow of class with questions or interjections;
    • The student who becomes belligerent when you confront their inappropriate behavior in class;
    • Cell phones ringing in a classroom, text messaging, chatting online;
    • Persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention both in and out of the classroom. 

    Disruptive Behavior is NOT:

    • Cultural differences;
    • Appropriate demonstrations of disagreements or differences of opinion;
    • A class of values or believes;
    • Needing extra time or attention based on reasonable accommodation.

    For information on how to respond to disruptive behavior, see our
    Disruptive and Threatening Student Behavior Guidelines for Faculty and Staff