Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning
environment. At times, members of the John Carroll University community may come in
contact with classroom behaviors that are of concern. Specifically, students who are
disruptive in the classroom warrant attention from faculty. Disruptive students in the
academic setting hinder the educational process. These procedures are designed to outline
information for faculty to resolve behavioral issues with disruptive students. Disruptive
students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to university
disciplinary action. These procedures apply both to undergraduate and graduate students.
1. Definition of Disruption
Disruptive behavior in the classroom is defined as repeated, continuous or
multiple student behaviors that prevent an instructor from teaching and/or prevent
students from learning. Examples of disruptive behavior include but are not
limited to: persistently speaking without being recognized or interrupting other
speakers, harassing behavior or personal insults, and/or using cell phones (to talk,
text, play games, etc.) or iPods during class.
2. Procedures for Resolving Disruptive Behavior
The primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the
faculty. The following process should be followed by faculty:
Responding to Disruptive Behavior:
• If the student’s behavior is irritating, but not particularly disruptive,
consider talking with the student privately after class.
• If it is necessary to deal with a student’s behavior during class, you should
calmly but firmly inform the student that the behavior is disruptive and ask
that it be stopped. Example: “your use of your cell phone is bothering me
and disrupting the class. Please end your conversation now and refrain
from in-class phone calls in the future.”
• If the disruptive behavior continues during either the present or some
future class, warn the student (perhaps in private) that such behavior may
result in student disciplinary action. Example: “I’ve already warned you
about talking when I am speaking to the class. If you disrupt the class
again in this manner, you will be referred to the Academic Deans Office
for disciplinary action.”
• If it is suspected that the disruptive behavior indicates distress of some
kind (see the addendum), it is appropriate to either encourage the student
to seek assistance via the University Counseling Center or to contact the
AAVP for Academic Programs and Faculty Diversity to encourage that an
Assessment Team be convened.
• Faculty members are encouraged to keep a log of the date, time, and
nature of all incidents of disruptive behavior and any meetings you have
with the student. Document incidents and meetings immediately, while
specifics and details are still fresh in your memory.
• If the student continues the disruptive behavior despite this warning, the
student should then be asked to leave the classroom. Following the class,
the instructor should contact the Department Chair and the Associate Dean
in the college/school offering the course and provide pertinent information
about the student’s behavior. The Associate Dean will determine if
disciplinary action will be pursued.
• If the student refuses to leave the classroom after being instructed to do so,
s/he should be informed that this refusal is a separate instance of
disruptive behavior subject to additional disciplinary action.
• If the student continues to refuse to leave the classroom, the instructor
may choose to adjourn class for the day or call security and have the
The Disciplinary Process:
• If the student has been given a verbal warning, and the behavior continues,
the faculty member should file a Disruptive Classroom Incident Report
with the Academic Dean’s Office. The faculty member should talk with
the Associate Dean about what action they would like to take regarding
• If the faculty member has removed the student from class, the student will
need to attend a meeting with the faculty and Academic Dean’s Office
representative to discuss the behavior. At this meeting, expectations will
be provided to the student about future classroom behavior. The Associate
Dean will provide the student with a letter that summarizes the meeting
and that states that any further classroom disruptions may result in
permanent withdrawal from the course.
• If the student continues the disruptive behavior, and the faculty member
wishes to remove the student permanently from the course, there will be a
meeting with the student, faculty member and the Academic Dean’s
Office representative. At that meeting, the student will be told that they
are being permanently withdrawn from the course. The student will
receive a letter from the Academic Dean’s Office indicating that s/he is
removed from the course. The letter will also inform the student that if
s/he wishes to appeal the decision, the student will have two class days
from the meeting to notify the appropriate Academic Dean in writing of
the appeal. During the appeals process, the student will not be allowed to
attend class. If the student is reinstated, it is at the instructor’s discretion as
to whether the student can make up missed work.
• The Academic Dean will review the written appeal and respond in writing
within five class days to the student. The Academic Dean can uphold or
change the decision which will be final and binding. If the decision is
upheld, a note of the course removal will be included in the student’s file.
• Students who have been found responsible for multiple violations of the
student code of conduct may be subject to additional disciplinary action
which could include suspension or dismissal from the university.
Students should be made aware of these procedures
Responding to Distressed Students: an Addendum
The purpose of this document is to articulate procedures designed to inform and
support faculty members who may encounter disruptive students. It is worth
noting, however, any member of the John Carroll University community may
come into contact with a distressed student. Distress is a separate category and
wouldn’t trigger the disciplinary process and there are no prescribed procedures
and manifestations of distress are so variable. Still, it is worthy of mention and
consideration in this context. Being aware of behaviors and sources for help for
the student can assist faculty to effectively address these types of situations.
Examples of types of behaviors which suggest that a student is distressed include
but are not limited to: poor concentration, changes in hygiene, skipping class,
changes in sleep patterns, loss of self-esteem, or other behaviors that give the
faculty member cause for concern.
Faculty who would like to talk about a distressed student should contact the
Associate Academic Vice President for Academic Programs and Faculty
Diversity. The AAVP may convene an Assessment Team which may include
representatives from the Academic Dean’s Office, the Dean of Students Office,
Campus Safety Services, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, and
the Counseling Center. This group will meet with the faculty member to hear the
concerns and develop an action plan.