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Faculty & Staff Handouts

How to Deal With Difficult or Disruptive Students in your Classroom/Office

Dealing with: Established Procedure
A student’s misconduct or disruption in your classroom: Minor Incident/Disruption:
  • Talk to the student individually before or after class to discuss behavior and your expectations for appropriate classroom conduct. Share a copy of the Student Code of Conduct with him/her and inform the student of the sanctions/consequences for repeated misconduct.
  • Document the occurrence in writing. (This is very important especially if the situation continues or escalates. The VP of Student Affairs cannot reprimand the student or institute any disciplinary actions without sufficient information.)
Escalated or continued disruption:
  • If disruptive behavior is impacting your teaching or continuance of the class, ask the student to leave the class for that class meeting and make an appointment with the Vice President of Student Affairs to obtain approval to return to the next class meeting. For more details on this process, please refer to section IV regarding Procedures in the Standards of Student Conduct.
  • After initial disruption has passed, contact the Vice President of Student Affairs, (707) 256-7365 or 256-7363, or the College Police, (707) 256-7770, to report the incident and determine the next appropriate step.
A student who is aggressive or threatening:
  • Contact the College Police immediately, (707) 256-7777.
  • Do not leave the class unattended. Instead ask a student to make the call from a nearby office or use the NVC Safe App on their phone to call College Police.
A crime on campus or questions about your personal safety: NVC Police will take reports of crimes and can advise you if you have concerns about your safety. Their office is located in building 2250, (707) 256-7777.
A student who is struggling academically in your classroom: Talk to the student in private and recommend that they make an appointment to see a counselor in the Counseling Department, (707) 256-7220, Rm 1339A. Counselors can help students deal with workload dilemmas, personal difficulties, and other issues that are interfering with their academic success at NVC.
A student who wants to file a complaint or grievance:
  • While it is our hope that concerns, complaints and problems can be minimized through direct communication between those involved (informal processes), in some cases formal action is required. All students have the right to utilize the Student Complaint and Grievance Procedures set up to resolve problems.
  • Refer student to the Student Complaint and Grievance Policy and Procedures Booklet available online under the Student Services website (select the Student Rights and Responsibilities section) or direct student to the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, Room 1330, to obtain a hardcopy.
  • Make student aware of the college’s ombudsperson (student advocate) that can help explain district processes and refer them to appropriate parties to resolve their student concern. Refer them to the handout titled “Getting Help with Difficulties You Encounter at NVC” also found under the Student Services website under the Student Rights and Responsibilities section.
A student who was caught cheating or you suspect is cheating:
  • Talk to the student individually before or after class to discuss incident and your expectations for academic standards of honesty.
  • As the instructor of the class, you have the right to enforce one or more of the disciplinary actions or consequences of academic dishonesty listed in the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Share a copy of this policy with the student (found on the Student Services website under Student Rights and Responsibilities). If necessary and/or second infraction, refer student to the Vice President of Student Services for disciplinary action.
If you are unsure how to deal with an issue or student: Always seek assistance from your division chairperson first. But if still unsure on how to deal with a student situation, you may contact the CARE Team (707) 256-7776 or call the Vice President of Student Affairs, (707) 256-7363.



Department/Office Contact Phone (707) Available Services
Office of Student Affairs Oscar De Haro, Asst. Superintendent/VPSA (707) 256-7365 Administers the student code of conduct and deals with dangerous student behavior; provides guidance to faculty, staff, and students in disciplinary issues, complaints and grievances.
College Police Amber Wade, Chief (707) 256-7770
(707) 256-7777
Crime prevention and crime reporting including assistance for victims of crime or violence; immediate response and/or help with disruptive students.
Counseling Department Howard Willis, Dean (707) 256-7355 Academic and career counseling including developing realistic academic workloads; personal counseling/crisis intervention including help with personal, family and other issues that may affect students’ educational progress; referrals to appropriate community resources; college success strategies.
CARE Team Amber Wade, Chief (707) 256-7776 Collaborative team that identifies, assesses, intervenes, and manages cases where people may be exhibiting concerning or unusual behavior.
ADA Accommodations
Sheryl Fernandez Assoc. Dean (707) 256-7234 Assessment of learning or psychological disabilities; referrals to Dept. of Rehabilitation, County Health and Human Services, or other agencies; accommodations might include enlarged book print, note-taking, readers, sign language interpreters, and modified test taking.
Ombudsperson Howard Willis, Dean (707) 256-7355 Investigates complaints, provides information, and resolves problems.
Student Health Center Psychological Services Nancy Tamarisk, Director, NP (707) 256-7780
(707) 256-7782
Personal and private counseling appointments with a licensed therapist in dealing with finances, job, school, marriage or relationships, or life in general.

Handling Classroom Disruptions


Prevention of misconduct is the first priority.

  • Faculty members are obligated to be knowledgeable of District rules on student conduct.
  • College should distribute to faculty a copy of the Standards of Student Conduct (AKA Student Code of Conduct).
  • This policy, along with other college policies like the Academic Honesty policy, is found under the Student Rights and Responsibilities section on the Student Affairs website (Student Affairs).
  • Faculty members must inform their students of their expectations for proper conduct.
  • Identify the types of conduct not permitted in their classroom, including disruptive, threatening, or nuisance behaviors.
  • Inform students of the sanctions for misconduct. These varying types of sanctions are listed on the Standards of Student Conduct under section III and are as follows:
  • Warning
  • Censure
  • Conduct Probation
  • Restitution
  • Suspension or Termination of Financial Aid
  • Suspension (initial and longer suspension)
  • Expulsion
  • Course syllabus: At the beginning of the term, the instructor should clearly define proper behavior (i.e., classroom decorum, mutual respect, etc.) and penalties for misconduct in writing. Also, please include an explanation of how to handle a concern or disagreement.

Identification of Problem(s)/Intervention

Quick Resolution of problems will best serve all involved.

  • The College should convey to faculty the types of services and support available to faculty and students to assist in solving disruption problems.
  • Counseling Services: (707) 256-7220
  • Mental Health Services/Psychological Counseling: (707) 256-7783
  • Student Health Center: (707) 256-7780
  • College Police (campus security): (707) 256-7770/7777
  • CARE Team: (707) 256-7776
  • DSPS/ADA Accommodations: (707) 256-7345
  • Vice President of Student Affairs: (707) 256-7363
  • Faculty must develop methods for early detection of misconduct and classroom control including student conferences, setting clear guidelines for proper conduct, consistent enforcement of consequences for misconduct, and referral to other campus services.
  • Issues that faculty can handle.
  • Intervention for non-physical, nuisance type of behavior:
  • Talk with student individually before or after class
  • Create rapport with student
  • Change student's seat
  • Refer to counselor
  • Give student verbal, positive feedback to reinforce positive behavior
  • If you have a disruptive group, separate them. Talk to them individually
  • Conflicts with student regarding grades, if non-physical
  • College Police officers are trained and available to assist in violent and threatening circumstances.
  • Emergency phones are located throughout campus.
  • For Urgent Help – Dial 7777 (Suspicious Situation or Assistance)
  • For help on campus using a cell phone, call (707) 256-7770.

Protection of Students' Rights in the Classroom

Protection of students’ rights must be an overriding consideration.

  • American with Disabilities Act – General Rule: No qualified individual with a disability shall, based on disability, be excluded from participating in or be denied benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by a public entity.
  • ADA protects individuals with physical, psychological and drug/alcohol impairments.
  • Psychologically impaired students may be discipline for misconduct.
  • Reasonable accommodations are required for qualified individuals; faculty may need assistance from College staff.
  • Safety: All students and faculty have the right to be safe in their classroom and on campus.
  • Faculty must be trained to recognize unsafe situations.
  • College must provide adequate security.
  • Freedom of Expression/Non-Discrimination
  • Faculty and staff must ensure that discipline is not used to thwart protected speech. It is equally important that disciplinary acts be taken in a non-discriminatory manner.