Classroom Disruption is defined as any behavior a reasonable person would view as being likely to substantially or repeatedly interfere with the conduct of a class.
Examples include repeated, unauthorized use of cell phones in the classroom; persist speaking without being recognized; or making physical threats.
Call the University Police Emergency Line at (914) 251-6911 whenever you believe there is a threat of violence or other unlawful behavior-including a student’s refusal to leave a class after being told to do so. Any threat of violence should be taken seriously.
- If you believe inappropriate behavior is occurring, redirect the student to an appropriate behavior, rather than warning or embarrassing a particular student (e.g., a good approach is to say, “we have too many private conversations going on at the moment; let’s all focus on the same topic.”). Most students are unaware of distracting habits or mannerisms, and do not intend to be offensive or disruptive.
- If a student was redirected during class, speak to the student after class t follow up. Invite them to your office or other private setting. Allow them to discuss their style with you. Clearly identify what behavior is inappropriate for class and what behavior is appropriate.
- There may be rare circumstances when it is necessary to speak to a student during class about his or her behavior. Correct the student in a courteous manner, indicating that further discussion can occur after class.
- Key factors in responding to disruptive behavior are clarity in expectations; courtesy and fairness in responses (making sure students have an opportunity to discuss the incident with you in a timely manner); and progressive discipline, in which students (in less serious cases) are given an opportunity to learn from the consequences of their misbehavior, and to remain in the class. Follow up in private to reinforce your classroom comments.
- The fact that a student may have a disability should not inhibit you from notifying appropriate authorities (including the campus police, as needed) about disruptive behavior. Students with or without disabilities need to know they must adhere to reasonable behavioral standards. Pertinent federal agencies and the courts have made it clear that an institution of higher education does not have to tolerate or excuse violent, dangerous, or disruptive behavior, especially when that behavior interferes with the educational opportunities of other students.
- A student who persists in disrupting a class may be directed by the faculty member to leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period and should be reported to the Office of Community Standards for disciplinary action. The student should be told the reason(s) for such action, and be given an opportunity to discuss the matter with the faculty member as soon as possible. The faculty member should also promptly consult with the department chair/director.
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