Academic Standards Handbook

3.19 Classroom Related Disciplinary Process

Procedures for Dealing with Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom


Faculty members have two essential prerogatives in dealing with a disruptive student:

  1. Establish and implement academic standards (expectations) for the classroom.
  2. Establish and enforce behavioral standards for each class.

Reasonable accommodation will be followed and the instructor will handle minor disruptions. Major disruptions to the educational process invoke disciplinary action.

Forewarning Students in the Course Syllabus:

When instructors definitively state in writing those behaviors proscribed in their particular classes, several things follow:  students know the expectations; the expectations underscore the importance of civil and respectful classroom behavior; they notify the student that the instructor has the prerogative to intervene and discipline when the student behaves disrespectfully. Written guidelines convey to students that instructors are not only acknowledged authorities in their respective field but also have institutional and legal rights to teach in an environment of consensual respect.

Disciplinary procedure:

  1. Students are required to adhere to the behavior standards listed in the Student Code of Conduct and to refrain from disrupting classes and other academic settings.
  1. If a student is disruptive, the faculty member may ask the student to stop the disruptive behavior and warn that such disruptive behavior can result in academic or disciplinary action.
  1. A faculty member is authorized to ask a student to leave the classroom or other academic site if the faculty member deems it necessary. If the faculty member does this, s/he must file a Disruptive Classroom Incident Report with the Department chair within 24 hours. The Department Chair shall provide the student with a copy of the report.
  1. A faculty member may also exclude the student from the classroom or other academic area pending resolution of the matter by:
  1. Informing the student of the exclusion
  2. Informing the student of his/her right to request an expedited review of the exclusion
  3. Immediately referring the matter to the  relevant Department Chair. If such exclusion occurs, and if the student requests a review, the Department Chair shall review the exclusion within three business days of the date that the student requests the review.
  4. If a disruption is serious, and other reasonable measures have failed, the class may be adjourned, and the Sterling Police Department summoned. Teachers may not use force or threats of force, except in immediate self-defense. They must prepare a written account of the incident and identify witnesses for the SPD as needed. A written report is immediately filed with the Vice President of Instruction and Vice President of Student Services via the Maxient Incident Reporting system for disciplinary action to follow.

Documentation for disciplinary action:

Referrals to the Department Chair or the Vice President of Student Services require written documentation via the web-based Maxient reporting system. Faculty members need to note the dates, times, witnesses and details of the incidents of disruption, and impact of the disruption on those present may be important in any future proceeding. Referral needs to include factual and concrete descriptive information, stressing only the student’s unacceptable behavior. The student is entitled to see this documentation.

If instructors have strong preferences regarding the ultimate disposition of their complaints, they should specify those preferences in their reports.


Possible Sanctions

Authority of faculty member and Department Chair:

  • Warning
  • Exclusion from instructor’s classroom or academic area, pending expedited review by Department Chair.
  • Academic sanction, if course participation is a component of the final grade and is so indicated in the course syllabus.
  • Authority of the Vice Presidents of Academic Services and Vice President of Student Services: 
  • Educational Sanction, such as classes, papers, or community services

 Resources                                                            Phone#

Sterling Police Department                          911 or 521-3512

Disability Services on campus                     521-6679

Disability Services in community                 522-3737

Department Chair in relevant division        521-6650 or 521-6777

NJC Guidance Coordinator                          521-6656

Vice President of Student Services              521-6657