Two female students listening in class
Magnolia Avenue students talking on campus
Male nursing student listening in class

Disruptive Behavior Guidelines

Many disruptive behaviors can be prevented when clear academic and classroom behavior expectations and consequences for noncompliance are communicated to the students in the beginning of the semester. However, behavior that obstructs or disrupts the learning environment can occur especially during stressful times in the semester. This guide can assist your response and decisions. If consultation is desired, contact the dean of students, academic dean, campus dean, or a counselor on any campus.

Llinks to related files

Disruptive behavior process flow. (pdf)

Disruptive behavior chart (pdf)


  • Repeated behavior which disrupts the flow of instruction or concentration, (e.g. outbursts, incessant questions/comments)
  • Failure to cooperate in maintaining classroom decorum
  • Text messaging or the continued use of any electronic or other noise or light emitting device which disturbs others (e.g., disturbing noises from beepers, cell phones, mobile devices, games, etc.)
  • Consistently arriving late and/or leaving early or sleeping
  • Known or suspected alcohol or drug abuse
  • Repeated Low Level behaviors
  • Offensive or lewd language
  • Verbal or written harassment
  • Inappropriate emails: high quantity, unreasonable expectations of faculty responses, extremely personal stories or other topics not germane to course, use of moderate expletives
  • Sexual harassment student to student or student to faculty
  • Potentially risky or dangerous behavior to self or others
  • Extreme verbal or written harassment or threats
  • Extremes, or changes in, appearance such as looking disheveled, disoriented, extreme low energy or apathetic
  • Disturbing writings or talking about – suicide, violence in their past or future, obsessions with harming or violence
  • Signs of paranoia or making references that are not germane to the topic or not related to the situational context
  • Under the influence of drugs/alcohol
  • Aggressive, threatening or intimidating verbal outbursts or gestures
  • Imminent danger of hurting self or others
  • Immediately tell the student to stop the behavior.
  • Arrange to talk with the student privately about the inappropriate behavior.
  • If behavior continues, remind student of previous discussion regarding sanctions should behavior continue.
  • Referrals can also be made to counselors
  • Document situation and private conversations
  • “F” or “0” for the day if asked to leave
  • Cell phone to be placed on instructor station
  • Reflection paper on appropriate classroom behavior/civility/respect.
  • Consult with academic dean, dean of students or site campus dean
  • Direct student to see appropriate dean before returning to class
  • Document situation and give to appropriate dean
  • Always refer sexual harassment or discrimination concerns the executive director of human resources
POSSIBLE SANCTIONS Refer to Policy 04:02:00, Disciplinary Sanctions
  • Contact Behavioral Intervention Team – or Security at ext. 6649, or the dean of students
  • Provide written documentation to BIT

A member of the team will contact the student and determine appropriate action to be taken, such as referrals to law enforcement, mental health agencies and/or initiation of disciplinary proceedings

  • Tell student to leave the classroom; if noncompliant
  • Call Security at ext. 6649
  • If danger is imminent, call 9-911
  • Dismiss class if necessary
  • Clearly state your behavior expectations and consequences/sanctions for noncompliance. (This is a reminder of behavior expectations from your syllabus)
  • Listen to student’s response(s) and take notes. Ask, “Anything else?” Repeat as necessary until student confirms they are done.
  • Summarize the student’s perspective.
    D.Be specific about the behavior that is disruptive and how it impacts others Acknowledge student’s strength(s) and your support for their success.
  • Offer resources for academic skills and life issues
  • Clearly explain the specific sanction for this event and expected consequence if behavior continues. (see Moderate Level)
  • “Joe, your repeated texting is disrupting class. You have been told several times to put your cell phone away. Leave class now and see the dean before you return”
  • Upon his refusal, initiate a class break and tell Joe that Security will be called unless he leaves

The team responds to reports of disruptive, problematic or concerning behavior or misconduct, conducts an investigation, performs a threat assessment, and determines the best mechanisms for support, intervention, warning/notification and response. The team then deploys its resources and resources of the community and coordinates follow-up. The team also identifies patterns of concerns for a student or group of students across all campuses.

  • BIT: Mary Bledsoe, dean of students (694-6415); Fred Breiner, security; Kim Bays, counselor, Mike North campus dean
  • Counselors: Hardin Valley: Elizabeth Firestone, director; Kim Bays, Kathy Douthat; Blount: Betsy Boyd; Division St: Rhoda Stone; Magnolia: Garry Loftis; Strawberry Plains: TBD
  • Security: HV 694-6649; BC 981-5375; DS 971-5200; MA 329-3100; SP 225-2305;
  • Campus Deans BC: Holly Burkett; DS: Esther Dyer; MA: Rosalyn Tillman; SP: Mike North
  • Repeated low level behaviors can escalate to moderate or high level concerns. It is best to pre-plan how you may use sanctions to manage inappropriate / disruptive classroom behaviors
  • Written documentation includes description of what happened, what was said, when it happened, who was involved, what action was taken. Write objectively and give a factual accounting of what happened in a non-judgmental manner
  • Enforce expectations and consequences consistently
  • “Sally, your line of questioning is off-topic. Please refrain from asking further questions.”
  • “Joy, your side comments are disruptive. I expect you to listen to the discussion and not be disruptive. You will be told to leave if you continue.” If it continues, speak to her outside the classroom. “Joy, I’ve told you before to stop your side conversations. Leave class now and see me _______.”
  • Have a plan in mind before you need one
  • Know how to call Security(ext. 6649 or 694-6649)
  • Consistently enforce expectations and consequences
  • Limit the number of questions students can ask during class if one or two students dominate discussion or ask too many questions that disrupt the flow of instruction/discussion
  • Prepare a plan and mentally practice your planned response
  • Do not let your emotions escalate to that of the student; keep as calm as possible
  • Trust your instincts