A-053 Disruptive Classroom Managment

Code: A-053
Date: April 28, 2014
Approved: Connie J. Gores
Date Effective: August 1, 2014

Southwest Minnesota State University

Policy and Procedure

Disruptive Classroom Management

Faculty Right and Authority

Southwest Minnesota State University believes the primary right and responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the faculty. Students who engage in prohibited behaviors that result in disruption of a classroom or college-sponsored activity may be directed by the faculty member to leave the classroom or activity for the remainder of the period. Longer removal from a course or activity, or dismissal on disciplinary grounds, requires a referral to the Dean of the appropriate College.

Disruptive classroom conduct means engaging in behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the faculty member's ability to teach or student learning. The classroom extends to any setting where a student is engaged in work toward academic credit or satisfaction of program-based requirements or related activities such as field trips, internship placement, and other off-site activities related to the fulfillment of academic requirements. While students have the right to freedom of expression and belief, disagreement and dissent must be expressed in a civil manner that does not disrupt the learning process.



Refers to a suspension from a course for a finite amount of time.

Examples of disruptive behavior in the classroom include, but are not limited to:

  • Making loud and distracting noises.
  • Eating in class when it is prohibited.
  • Monopolizing classroom discussions to the detriment of student learning or the faculty member’s ability to teach.
  • Repeatedly interrupting when the instructor or others are speaking or persisting in speaking without being recognized.
  • Using cell phones or electronic devices when prohibited.
  • Inappropriate or inordinate demands for time and attention.
  • Behavior that distracts the class from the subject matter or discussion.
  • Refusal to comply with faculty direction.
  • Repeatedly leaving and entering the classroom during class without authorization.
  • Failing to respect the rights of other students to express their viewpoints.

More extreme examples of disruptive behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal abuse such as profanity or derogatory language, hostile remarks, taunting, badgering or verbal intimidation toward or about other students in the classroom, other groups of people or the instructor.
  • Intoxication or other suspected substance impairments.
  • Harassment (e.g., use of “fighting words,” stalking).
  • Making physical threats to the faculty member or fellow classmates.
  • Threats to harm oneself or others.
  • Physical violence (e.g., shoving, grabbing, assault, use of weapons).

Disruptive Classroom Management Procedure

If reasonable efforts to stop or prevent the disruptive behavior are ignored or have failed, the faculty member may remove a student from the classroom at any time for disrupting the learning environment. If a student is removed from a classroom, that student may be required to meet with the faculty member to discuss ways for the student to be a contributing individual in that particular course before being allowed to return. This meeting should be documented by the instructor as to the date, time, issue and outcome of the meeting. If the student’s behavior appears to the instructor to be a threat to the faculty and/or student safety, the faculty member should excuse the class and call University Public Safety, 507-537-7252 or 911 as appropriate.

If an instructor believes a student should be removed from a course for the remainder of the term, the following procedure is to be followed.

  1. The appropriate Academic Dean’s office will be notified of the incident by the faculty member.
  2. The Director of Public Safety or designee will investigate the alleged incident and provide their findings to the appropriate Academic Dean within 3 (three) working days if possible. At the same time, the Director will brief the faculty member on the progress of the incident.
  3. The Academic Dean will meet with the student to communicate that a) the incident is being investigated and their cooperation is expected; and that b) the student may not return to the course in question until the investigation is complete and the Dean has rendered a decision. This information will be given to the student in writing.
  4. The Academic Dean will review the findings of the investigation and render a decision regarding the student’s status in that course within 24 hours if possible. These findings will be provided to both the faculty and student in person. The appeal process will be explained to the student.
  5. If the disruptive behavior is communicated through phone calls, emails or other correspondence, whether prior, during or after the course enrollment, the faculty member shall notify the Dean’s Office. The Director of Public Safety will meet with the student either face-to-face or via methods that accommodate distance to communicate that a) the incident is being investigated and their cooperation is expected; and that b) the student may not continue the attempts at communication until the investigation is complete and the Dean has rendered a decision. 

The student may appeal the Dean’s decision to the Office of the Provost within 5 (five) working days of receiving the Academic Dean’s decision. The Provost will review the incident, and may decide to either uphold the removal or implement an alternative solution. Examples of alternatives could be, but are not limited to: mediating the dispute and allowing the student to return to the classroom, allowing the student to finish the course online, removing the student from the course, or assigning the student to another section of the course with a different faculty member.

Examples of disruptive behavior taken from the websites of Madison Area Technical College, Clayton State University, James Madison University, the University of Delaware and Virginia Tech.

Note: While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, SMSU reserves the right to correct any clerical errors herein. Also, you can submit feedback.