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Disruptive or Disturbing Student FAQs

Q: What are warning signs of disruptive student behavior?

Disruptive or disturbing students exhibit behaviors that signify an obvious crisis and necessitate more immediate intervention. Examples include:

  • Highly disruptive behavior (e.g., verbal hostility, aggression, disregard for classroom conduct) and/or failure to comply with corrective feedback;
  • Inability to communicate clearly (e.g., garbled or rambling speech; disorganization or confusion);
  • Apparent loss of contact with reality (e.g. seeing or hearing things that others cannot see or hear; expressing irrational beliefs or fears that others may be conspiring against him or her);
  • Stalking behaviors and inappropriate communication (including threatening letters, e-mail messages, and/or harassment); or
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or threats to harm others (may be communicated orally or in written formats through e-mail, assignments, or on social networking sites).

Q: How should I respond to a disruptive or disturbing student?

  • If immediate safety is a concern or the person acts in a highly irrational or disruptive way, call 911.
  • If safety is not a concern, attempt to de-escalate the situation; offer to find someone to assist in problem-solving; meet and work on a solution.
  • Direct the student to leave class for the remainder of the current class meeting.
  • Consult with the UL Lafayette Police Department at 337-482-6449 or Counseling & Testing Center at 337-482-6480.
  • Notify the Students of Concern Assistance Team by emailing or 337-482-6276.

Q: How can I recognize and help the person who has thoughts about not wanting to live?

Faculty and staff sometimes find themselves talking to someone who appears to be very sad, hopeless, and in despair. If the person’s conversation or behaviors suggest that suicide may be a concern, here are some suggestion for how to help:

  • Listen and allow time to understand the scope of his or her concerns.
  • Ask the question, “Based on what you are saying about how things are for you, I am concerned…Are you thinking about not wanting to live? Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
  • Be persistent: if after further conversation you are still concerned, ask again.
  • Offer hope and promote the idea of getting help.
  • Refer the student to Counseling & Testing Center at 337-482-6480
  • For emergency appointment during Mental Health Service office hours, offer to walk the student to the Counseling & Testing Center or call 337-482-6480 to speak with an on-call clinician.
  • Consult with the Counseling & Testing Center for additional support.
  • Notify the Students of Concern Assistance Team by emailing or 337-482-6276.
  • Consult with your supervisor for potential resources.