PRP 3881 – Student Disruptive Behavior Policy

Issued by: Ira K. Blake, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Effective Date: Spring 2011
Notes: Approved by BUCC Oct. 13, 2010. Reported to the Forum, Nov. 10, 2010.


The ultimate goal of this policy is to create a safe learning atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy, conducive to clarity of thought. Instructors and students are expected to treat each other with respect for their scholarly intentions, which are noble and worthwhile pursuits. It is the instructor’s right and responsibility to maintain an appropriate environment for learning, with the expectation of support from the university administration. In order to facilitate an environment that allows for optimal student growth and enrichment through instruction and interaction, this policy has been developed to assist with classroom management as it specifically addresses disruptive behavior.


For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Instructor — all persons authorized by Bloomsburg University to conduct instruction, advisement, or guidance of students enrolled in the university’s courses or programs, including invited speakers and guests.

Instructional Setting — any classroom, laboratory, office, library, or other environment in which instruction is scheduled or offered under the auspices of the University.

Police — for incidents occurring on campus, this will generally refer to the Bloomsburg University Police. For incidents occurring off campus, this may refer to police authorized to act at that location.

Disruptive Behavior — behavior that a reasonable instructor would view as interfering with normal academic functions. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Verbal, physical, or psychological threats, harassment, and physical violence
  • Refusal to comply with reasonable instructor directions
  • Repeatedly arriving after class has begun or leaving class early
  • Distractive talking, including speaking out of turn or monopolizing discussion
  • Use of any electronic device not related to class during the class period
  • Disruptions in online conversations as part of a distance education or web-based class
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco products, or controlled substances
  • Activities not germane to the content and work of the class in session. Examples include activities such as reading the newspaper, doing homework for other classes, etc., that are not directly related to/appropriate for the class in session.

Behavioral Expectations in the Educational Setting

All Instructors are highly encouraged to articulate clear behavioral expectations for students in their respective course syllabi. To prevent disruptive behavior, the following should be reasonably expected of all students in the educational setting:

  • Acting in a responsible and respectful manner
  • Attending classes and paying attention. Students are responsible for any material presented in class. Students may expect the instructor to clarify material already taught but not to re-teach the material missed.
  • Coming to class on time and staying until dismissed. If a student has to enter class late, he or she should do so in a manner so as not to disrupt the class. Students should not leave a class once it has begun unless it is absolutely necessary. This applies to testing situations as well, until the student has completed the test.
  • Respecting the right of others to speak uninterrupted. Students must allow others time to give their input and ask questions. Students should not stray from the topic of the class discussion.
  • Turning off unnecessary electronic devices before class begins. Students should ask permission of the instructor for any electronic devices used in the classroom, except those medically necessary (such as hearing aids, etc.).
  • Focusing on class material during class time. Sleeping, talking to others, showing audible and visible signs of restlessness or boredom, doing work for another class, reading the newspaper, checking e-mail, and text messaging are unacceptable classroom behaviors.
  • Waiting until the instructor has dismissed class to pack class materials so as not to miss important closing information
  • Expressing disagreement civilly, when and if disagreement occurs

Procedures to Follow When Disruptive Behavior Occurs

Nothing in this policy prohibits an immediate call to the police or referral of the matter to another policy office, as determined to be appropriate by the instructor.

Step 1 — Informal Resolution (Instructor’s Response to the Disruptive Behavior)

Student behavior disruptive of the instructional setting will not be tolerated. If a student’s behavior is deemed disruptive by an instructor, the instructor can direct the student to refrain from the disruptive behavior and warn the student that such disruptive behavior can result in disciplinary action. If, in defiance of this warning, the disruptive behavior recurs, the instructor has the right to remove the student from the classroom for that class period. In extreme cases, if the student refuses to leave after being requested to do so, the instructor can summon the police to remove the student.

Incidents in which the student ceases the disruptive behavior will be considered informally resolved, with no further action necessary. Incidents in which the instructor removes the student from the classroom, or in which the police remove the student, will require formal resolution, as defined below.

Step 2 — Formal Resolution (When Student Is Removed From the Classroom)

If this occurs, the Instructor has the option of meeting with the student prior to the next class to provide the student with a clear and concise explanation of the behavior/action that led to his/her dismissal from the class, and of what is expected of the student before permission will be granted by the instructor for readmittance.

In extreme cases, the instructor can choose not to meet with the student, and can refer the incident to the administration for resolution. When this happens, the Instructor should document the incident by completing a Disruptive Classroom Incident Report (located on the Bloomsburg University “S” drive) and forwarding copies to the Department Chair, Dean of the College, and the Dean of Students before the next class meeting. The office shall provide the student with a copy of the report. The instructor can exclude the student from the classroom or other instructional site pending resolution of the matter by: (1) informing the student of the exclusion, (2) informing the student of his/her rights to request an expedited review of the exclusion, and (3) by immediately referring the matter to the office by submitting the Disruptive Classroom Incident Report and informing the appropriate Dean of the College. If such exclusion occurs, and if the student requests a review, the Dean of Students Office shall review the exclusion within three business days of the date the student requests the review. The office, in such cases, will be charged with investigating the incident and deciding whether the student will be readmitted to the classroom. The office will promptly communicate its decision to the instructor and student.

Step 3 — Appeals Process

In situations in which the student does not agree with the decisions rendered in the formal resolution, the student has the right to grieve the outcome by following the procedures set forth in PRP 3592 (Academic Grievance Procedure). In situations in which the instructor does not agree with the decision granted in the formal resolution, the instructor has the right to appeal the outcome to the Provost.

Step 4 — Final Resolution (Possible Sanctions)

To provide final resolution of incidents of disruptive behavior in the classroom, the agents of the university listed below, acting in their official capacities, are granted their respective enumerated authorities:

The Instructor is authorized to:

  1. Issue a warning to a disruptive student
  2. Remove a disruptive student from the classroom
  3. Call the police to remove a disruptive a student from the classroom, in extreme cases
  4. Exclude the disruptive student from the instructor’s classroom or instructional site pending expedited review and decision by the Dean of Students
  5. Sanction the disruptive academically, if course participation is a component of the final grade and is indicated in the course syllabus

The Dean of Students is authorized to:

  1. Issue a warning to a disruptive student
  2. Enforce educational sanctions on the disruptive student, such as classes, papers, or community service
  3. Place the disruptive student under disciplinary probation
  4. Suspend the disruptive student from classes
  5. Expel the disruptive student from the university
  6. Exclude the disruptive student from any part or all of campus

The Dean, Provost, and or President are authorized to:

  1. Suspend the disruptive student from classes
  2. Expel the disruptive student from the university
  3. Exclude the disruptive student from any part or all of campus


Instructors should be aware that notes of dates, times, witnesses, and details of incidents of disruption, and the impact of the disruption on those present, may be important in any future proceedings which may be necessary. Referrals to the Dean of Students require official written documentation including factual and descriptive information, accompanied by the Disruptive Classroom Incident Report. The student is entitled to have a copy of this documentation.