Classroom Management and Resources
Every so often you will have disruptive students in your class. Here are some helpful tips on how to handle them, what your role is as the classroom teacher and classroom manager, and when administration can step in to help you.
Some basic points to remember in handling disruptive students in class:
1. Disruptive behavior in the classroom is seldom a black and white matter. Picture it as a continuum with mild disruption that could easily be handled with minimal classroom management approach on the one end and totally disruptive behavior that has to be dealt with immediately through removal from class on the other end. There is a lot of gray area or middle ground here that calls upon the judgment and people skills of the instructor. Subjectivity can also come into play: Sometimes what one instructor will tolerate, another may not.
2. Mild disruption in the classroom calls for mild action on the part of the instructor, and extreme disruption calls for extreme action on the part of the instructor. That goes without saying.
3. When the not so severe disruption first occurs, students should be given verbal warning, preferably privately, but if warranted, in the presence of the class where that behavior occurred. Persistence of the disruptive behavior requires more serious discipline, including written warning to the effect that if the behavior persists, you will have to ask him/her to leave the class. This is the concept of progress discipline. It is not advisable to say or do nothing to the student about the continual disruption, and then lower the boom and remove the student. Deliberations in petitions and legal challenges often raise the question, “Have you told the student that his behavior is unacceptable?” or “Have you warned the student that further disruption will have serious consequences?”
4. When this disruptive behavior persists after verbal or written warnings, or if there is an extreme disruption, even without a history of disruption (e.g. student yelling at the instructor in front of the class and would not desist), the instructor can remove the student for up to two class meetings including that class. For example, the instructor can say, “I would like you to leave. You are disrupting the class.” If the student ignores your direction, you can say, “If you don’t leave on your own, I will have to have you removed.” Usually that will work, but if that doesn’t, then calling the campus police is appropriate.
5. The more severe the discipline, the more due process rights the student will have. For instructor-initiated removal up to two class meetings, the instructor should document the incident and send it to his Chair and Dean. Documentation should be factual, descriptive of what you saw or what happened, use behavioral terms, and not use quasi-diagnostic or speculative language. One example: “He yelled for 5 minutes and refused to sit down when I asked him to,” is documented behavior and an acceptable form of documentation. Another example: “He yelled for 5 minutes because I think he has psychological problems,” contains unwarranted speculation. We are not qualified to make that statement because the second half of that statement may or may not be true.
6. Any longer suspension—such as “I don’t want you in my class at all” requires administrative action by Ed Code. Discuss with your Dean beforehand who will in turn notify the Vice President of Student Services or his/her designee who is responsible for student discipline.
Important: What constitutes unacceptable behavior is listed in the Catalog under Student Conduct. The language is pretty standard, taken from the California Ed Code. Please familiarize yourself with that section. The trickier part of student discipline is often the behavior in the gray area of the continuum where it is harder to discern whether it calls for classroom management or student discipline. Feel free to consult with the Vice President of Student Services if you have questions.Nick Chang - 2008
Student Standards of Conduct and Due Process
The Standards of Conduct Policy identifies potential disciplinary actions that may be taken for violations of the standards of conduct described in this policy, including but not limited to the removal, suspension or expulsion of a student.
BP 5500 Standards of Conduct (6/18/2013)
The purpose of this procedure is to provide a prompt and equitable means to address violations of the Standards of Conduct (BP 5500 Standards of Conduct) in accordance with students’ rights to due process and free expression as protected by state and federal laws and regulations.
AP 5520 Student Discipline and Due Process (9/15/2015)
All members of the College community share the responsibility to participate in an environment that is free of any forms of harassment.
The Harassment Policy of the College specifically identifies four forms of harassment: verbal, physical, visual, and sexual (5.0004). It is the policy of the Board to prohibit harassment of an employee, applicant or student by a District employee on the basis of race, religious creed, color, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, sex or age.
In the case of any form of harassment you should report the incident immediately and directly to the appropriate Dean. Harassment Grievances can be filed based upon Section 504 and Title IX. Contact either the Affirmative Action Officer, Executive Dean of Human Resources and Labor Relations, or the 504 Coordinator for further information.
AP 3430 Prohibition of Harassment (9/15/2015)
The instructor of the course shall determine the grade to be awarded to each student. The determination of the student's grade by the instructor is final in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency.
Students may obtain a change to a final course grade only when the student can provide proof that the final course grade reflects mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency.
AP 4231 Grade Changes (3/6/2014)
The process for such a complaint begins with an attempt by the parties involved to resolve the complaint informally. If the complaint is not resolved at a lower level there are a series of formal steps leading to a final determination by the Board of Trustees of the College.
The procedures and guidelines on the filing of an student complaint are available from the Vice President of Student Services, or his/her designee.
AP 5530 Student Grievances (3/19/2013)
Emergencies, physical threats and dangerous conditions should be referred to the Campus Police.
The Office of Admissions and Records will maintain documents completed by the student, such as applications, petitions and Advanced Placement and CLEP scores for the period of time required by law. These records, as well as a permanent record for all academic work completed at the College, are maintained by the Dean of Enrollment Services in the Office of Admissions and Records. Students may obtain two free transcripts of their College of Marin permanent academic record by submitting a Transcript Request Form. A $6 charge will be made for each subsequent copy.
Occasionally, the College of Marin receives requests from various agencies seeking directory information on our students. These agencies can be public, private or governmental in origin, e.g., scholarship search companies, public or private colleges and universities, U.S. Military (Department of Defense), and others.
Please refer all such requests to Admissions and Records.
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