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The University of Mississippi

Disruption in the Classroom

Dealing with disruptive students in the classroom

Faculty members have the right to prevent disruptive students from interfering with their right to teach and the right of other students to learn. To this end, they may ask a student to refrain from certain behaviors in the classroom, require a student to meet with them before returning to class, or, when necessary, ask a disruptive student to leave the classroom and not return until meeting with the faculty member. In most situations, behavior that requires a student to be removed from a class should be reported to BIT. As always, faculty members retain the right to file a judicial complaint with the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct. (Please click here for complete information about judicial processes.)

Dealing with students who refuse to leave the classroom when asked

If a student is asked to leave a class because of his or her disruptive behavior and the student refuses, the faculty member must determine whether it is possible to continue to conduct class. For example, a faculty member should not feel a need to continue a class session when a student has the potential to become violent or when a student’s behavior has been so insubordinate and disruptive that attempts to continue class will be futile. In this case, a faculty member may dismiss class immediately. If the student appears violent or dangerous, the faculty member should call UPD or ask someone else to place the call. In any case, if class must be dismissed because of the behavior of a student, then BIT should be informed, and the student should not be allowed to return to class until cleared to do so by the dean of the college or school in conjunction with BIT.

Permanently removing a student from a class

Faculty members may not permanently remove a student from a class without permission from the dean of the college or school. Any permanent removal of a student from a class based on nonacademic reasons should be reported to BIT. Although faculty members have a right to teach in a classroom free from disruption, they should bear in mind that removing a student from a class permanently may have a negative impact on the student’s status in other ways, such as affecting financial aid or health insurance eligibility. If it is determined that it is appropriate for a student to be permanently removed from a class, the department head and/or dean of the college or school may wish to work with BIT to find an alternate solution or placement. However, this is not mandatory, and a disruptive student may simply have to “suffer the consequences” of his or her removal from class.

Avoiding confrontation in the classroom

While in the classroom, faculty members are encouraged to avoid confronting angry students in a manner that may escalate the potential for violent behavior. Meeting with an angry student after class is usually preferable to confronting the student in front of a classroom of students. If the faculty member is uncomfortable meeting with the student one-on-one, arrangements should be made to have another faculty member present. Students with severe anger management problems should be reported to BIT to determine if the behavior represents a pattern for the student or an isolated incident.