The Violent or Physically Destructive Student

Violence due to emotional distress is very rare. It typically occurs only when the student is completely frustrated and feels unable to do anything about it. The adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," best applies here.

  • Explain clearly and directly what behaviors are acceptable (e.g., "You certainly have the right to be angry, but hitting [breaking . . .things ] is not O.K.").
  • Stay in an open, public area.
  • When all else fails, divert attention (e.g., "If you hit me, I can't be of help").
  • Request necessary help (e.g., other staff, University Police, Health Center, Counseling Center).
  • Remember that student discipline is implemented by the Dean of Students Office.
  • Ignore warning signs that the person is about to explode (e.g., yelling, screaming, clenched fists, statements like, "You're leaving me no choice . . .").
  • Threaten, dare, taunt, or "push into a corner."
  • Touch.
  • Block the door.