Violence due to emotional distress is rare but does occur especially when the student is completely frustrated and feels unable to do anything about it. Some of the signs that the student is becoming violent can include:

  • Loud voice
  • Using threatening language
  • Clenched fists
  • Face becoming red, muscles tense
  • Body posture becoming threatening (e.g. pounding fists)
  • Moving closer to you, closing space between the two of you

Here are some do’s and don’ts:


  • Explain clearly and directly what behaviors are acceptable
  • Stay in an open and public area
  • Call for help (other staff, police, Counseling Center)
  • Contact the office of Student Rights and Community Standards


  • Ignore warning signs
  • Threaten, dare or taunt
  • Touch
  • Block exits
  • Wait too long to call for assistance