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Responding Appropriately to a Spectrum of Behaviors Christopher T. Sutton, Sr. Coordinator of Student Development and Civic Engagement Lincoln University.

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Presentation on theme: "Responding Appropriately to a Spectrum of Behaviors Christopher T. Sutton, Sr. Coordinator of Student Development and Civic Engagement Lincoln University."— Presentation transcript:


2 Responding Appropriately to a Spectrum of Behaviors Christopher T. Sutton, Sr. Coordinator of Student Development and Civic Engagement Lincoln University (MO)

3 The Class of 2013

4 Types of Behaviors Threatening/ Concerning Disruptive Annoying/Causing Discomfort

5 Threatening and Concerning Behaviors and Indicators Acts of physical aggression Threats of violence Articulation of depression, hopelessness or self harm Mention weapons or violence as a way to solve problems Expression of anger/agitation/inability to cope with stress Reports of abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault

6 Disruptive Behaviors and Indicators Behaviors that may disrupt the educational process: Yelling or being excessively loud Excessive hygiene concerns Under the influence of substances Refusing to leave or cooperate Destruction of property Not complying with instructions

7 Behaviors that May Cause Feelings of Discomfort or Annoyance Staring Not picking up on social cues Interrupting you Talking loudly Asking a lot of questions Talking about things that dont relate to your office function Standing within personal space boundaries Wanting to speak to your supervisor

8 Behaviors that May Cause Feelings of Discomfort or Annoyance Cont. Disrespectful/rude behavior Threatening to sue you Monopolizing your time Crying Not listening to you Emailing relentlessly

9 Our Responses What do we feel when students exhibit these behaviors? We might want to: Ignore them/pretend its not happening Hand it off to someone else Do nothing so we dont upset the student Instead: Give yourself permission to feel uncomfortable Manage/address what you can Document, report, and get assistance for the rest

10 A Real Life Example Consider this situation from Florida Atlantic University:

11 Escalation of Behaviors The Escalation of Attack Related Behaviors* The goal of behavioral intervention is to assess and intervene while behaviors are at the lower end of the escalation. ImplementationPreparationPlanningIdeation

12 Reasons to Respond Get the behavior to stop Serve as educators to maintain the quality of the educational environment Uphold the professional boundaries Role model life skills for students – provide feedback Prevent escalation or additional behaviors

13 Developing Relationships: The Key To Effective Prevention Learn and use students names Exhibit care to learn about students Set and discuss expectations AND consequences – both in writing and verbally Anticipate high-risk time periods (refund, deregistration etc.) Know the boundaries of your influence Manage your own personal triggers Establish your authority and respond to behaviors using your best style

14 In the Moment Reponses

15 Scenario 1 Student waits in line to be assisted. They speak loudly saying, Im PISSED that I dont have a refund check available to pick up. Ive been told five different times that is would be available today. Im not leaving until I have the check. They refuse to stand and wait not letting staff to assist others waiting in line.

16 Scenario 2 A student posts sexually harassing comments on the universitys (departments) social media page. A week later in a group session, he laughs out loud while a guest speaker is speaking, making it obvious that he is watching a video on his computer instead of listening. When the speaker asks him to be quiet, he says, F-you, b*tch, puts his headphones on, and taps his foot to the music, ignoring the speaker.

17 Approaching Situations: Questions to Ask 1) Is there immediate or imminent danger? 2)Is there a threat of possible violence? 3)Can I resolve this situation? a.Can I help manage it until I can get support? b.What follow-up steps are needed? 4)If I ignore this, what else might happen? 5) What information should I report and to whom?

18 Initial Management Resolve any immediate concerns: Protect yourself and others Relocate to appropriate space Get the individual to a place of support Call police if warranted Be cautious of your body language and limitations – consider what you can resolve

19 Accountability Measures Communicated expectations are the key to helping students understand what constitutes disruption and how to address it: Student Code of Conduct Departmental procedures Campus policies and procedures Interim action when situation warrants

20 Manage the Moment, Refer the Behavior Manage the situation the best way possible, considering: Your own safety, experience, and possible triggers The disruptive students rights The rights and experiences of the other students The universitys process and resources Your limitations and options

21 Documentation and Reporting Objective, detailed, fact-based Write as if the student will read it Likely subject to FERPA You dont want a student to feel SOLD out. Stay away from: Speculation and Stereotypes Opinions Labels Diagnoses

22 When to Refer/Report Campus PDStudent ConductBIT WHAT Emergency situations, immediate safety concerns, or violations of the law Significant disruption or behavior that appears to have violated the Student Code of Conduct Concern for potential threat of violence or significant concerns that arent manageable WHO Any person – student, staff, faculty, visitor, parent, former student, etc. Students onlyAny person – student, staff, faculty, visitor, parent, former student, etc. WHEN Immediately – especially when safety is in question Timely manner – preferable the day of the incident WHY Immediate threats, or for support while you intervene/confront Formal action by the institution is warrantedYou want someone to be aware of the situation, assess, and to act if warranted ALSO Orders of protection, filing a report, escort service FYI, to report how you addressed a situation HOW 911 or campus extensionVia email or phone number

23 Threatening/ Concerning Disruptive Annoying/Causing Discomfort Office management strategies Student Conduct Referral Contact Police

24 Low-Level Situations If behaviors cause discomfort but are not threats of violence, violations, or causing significant disruption: Address it in the moment as best you can Determine the best way to talk to the student individually (consult with someone if you are not sure) Use clear communication to set boundaries and uphold them Provide opportunity and support for the person to comply If not compliant, call police or take other appropriate action.

25 Preparing for Difficult Conversations Remind yourself the discussion is about the behavior, you still have a relationship with the person Identify and manage your triggers Consider how you might be perceived Determine the best/safest environment Remind yourself that low-level intervention can prevent high-level issues Seek to understand and address, not to judge, defend, or excuse

26 Outline for Difficult Conversations Develop your relationship with the student and promote success: Build rapport with the student – explain why you are meeting Describe the behavior and its impacts Listen to the students perspective and response Do not get defensive Ask clarifying questions Set appropriate boundaries if needed

27 Outline for Difficult Conversations Discuss what appropriate behavior looks like and provide examples Discuss resources to promote success: Offer resolution options and suggestions Offer ways that you can assist with resolution Offer resources to assist the student State your expectations for future behaviors

28 Outline for Difficult Conversations Describe likely consequences of non-compliance: Meeting with department supervisor/VP Referral to Student Conduct Inform of any likely document conversations Email or letter to document conversation Report to Student Conduct Contact to campus resources Set a date to discuss progress/give feedback

29 Documentation/Follow Up Following any incident: Document the situation. Possible Formats: Personal notes Email to student Email to director, Police Department, BIT, Student Conduct Report it formally to Supervisor or any other appropriate source Consider if a Student Conduct referral should be made

30 Students May: Be odd Be creepy Have a psychological condition Have a disability (disclosed/not disclosed) Have different opinions from yours Challenge your opinion or information Have a criminal history Be entitled or self-centered Have different cultural expectations

31 Students May Not: Significantly disrupt the educational environment so that other students cant learn or feel safe Engage in or threaten violence towards others Steal, cheat, harass, etc Fail to comply with directions of university officials Violate the Student Code of Conduct

32 Useful Tips Post office expectations Discuss what if situations and have plans in place Provide phone scripts and suggested responses, especially to student employees Provide good customer service while addressing inappropriate behavior Utilize your offices strengths, and dont be afraid to tag team difficult issues Ask your counseling staff for training or guidance Conduct an office safety assessment

33 Summary Set and articulate expectations for behavior Apply your expectations consistently Address concerns while they are minimal. Dont wait for things to explode. Respond to behaviors rather than judge a person Report information/document appropriately Use campus resources at any stage – know when to refer incident on to the next appropriate office/department. Remember the power of a conversation!

34 Questions Christopher T. Sutton, Sr. Coordinator of Student Development and Civic Engagement Lincoln University (MO) 573-681-5517

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