Each semester your job presents new challenges, including students with varying personality types, behaviors, and responses to adversity. If you’ve ever found yourself dealing with a student who is threatening, verbally abusive, refuses to comply with instructions, and/or appears under the influence then knowing the following skills may help provide you with a safe environment.
First and most important – should you feel your safety is threatened please reach out to police. In Denton, you can dial or text 911 to connect with our department. Remember to trust your instincts if you feel a situation is dangerous or could escalate. We encourage you to be proactive with a safety plan and knowledge of your environment. Start by asking yourself “What if…..should happen?” to help you determine how you’d respond.
If you plan to meet with the student to discuss behavior concerns then consider involving your department chair, the Dean of Students Office, or our department prior to a meeting. These areas can be resources for options that help support the student. When communicating with the disruptive student do so respectfully, with confidence in the tone of your voice, and in your body language by standing or sitting up-right, and making direct eye contact. Speak clearly and distinctly to avoid any misunderstanding. To further avoid confusion, use reflective listening skills and make sure you can explain why you may not be able comply with their request. It may help to arm yourself with information from appropriate policies to give you a better idea of what to say.
Should you want to talk through this or any other safety tips, we recommend you reach out to our Community Relations Officer, Sgt. Kevin Crawford, at Kevin.Crawford@unt.edu.