Tips for dealing with angry or disruptive students:
Do all that you can to discourage further anger by the student.
If the student is angry and wants to discuss something, or if you want to discuss the student’s anger, do so in private.
Call the student by name.
Acknowledge that you recognize his or her anger.
Discuss the behavior, not the person.
Try to determine the source or cause of anger.
If the student’s anger results in a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, contact the Office of the Dean of Students.
Student Intervention Team Suggestions for Faculty and Staff
See also: Responding to Emotionally Troubled or Difficult Students
See also: Responding to the Aggressive or Potentially Violent Student
Responding to Angry or Disruptive Students
Classroom instructors face many challenges in teaching a diverse student population, and it is expected that students at a university will experience a wide variety of emotions. While many students will be attentive and engaged in the classroom activities, others may be day-dreaming, bored, distracted, or pre-occupied. Many instructors have their own effective techniques for working with these students. Those students who come to class under the influence of drugs or alcohol, express extreme anger, or become disruptive, present a greater challenge.
On occasion a faculty member may recognize that a student is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Faculty members may handle this situation as they choose, but should be mindful that they have the option to refer the student to the University Judicial Council by sending a written complaint to the Office of the Dean of Students. Those faculty members reporting such behavior should be as thorough as possible in providing details of the incident. The University Counseling Center and the Health Promotion unit in the University Health Center provide support for students with alcohol or drug use problems.
It is more likely that faculty members will encounter students who become angry in class. This anger might derive from differences among classmates, discussion of a controversial topic, or a disputed grade on a paper or test. This is to be expected. Anger in a student is not a violation of the Student Code of Conduct nor is it necessarily a threat to classroom order. When a student’s anger manifests itself into disregard for University authority or disorderly conduct, the faculty member retains the same right to report that student to the Office of the Dean of Students.