These students become verbally aggressive in frustrating situations which they see as being beyond their control. Anger and frustration can be displaced from those situations onto you. The signs of these students are typically very apparent and include:

  • Explosive outbursts
  • Belligerent, hostile behavior
  • Sarcastic, loud tone of voice
  • Threats of harming others and property
  • Violating other’s personal space, threatening gestures and body posture

In responding to these students, here are some do’s and don’ts:


  • Acknowledge the student’s anger and frustration
  • Speak softly, quietly, and calmly
  • Reduce stimulation, invite the person to your office or other quiet place perhaps with the door open
  • Allow the student to tell you what is upsetting the student
  • Help the student problem solve
  • Tell the student to move back if too close


  • Get into an argument or raise your voice
  • Tell the person to “calm down” 
  • Become hostile or punitive
  • Continue the conservation when it becomes unproductive
  • Press for explanations or reasons for the student’s behavior
  • Ignore the student