Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom

Approval by:  Academic Affairs, Student Affairs

History: N/A

Related Policies: Student Code of Conduct and Community Expectations

Related Forms, Procedures and References: 

For Questions Contact: Office of Academic Affairs | 651.690.6500


St. Catherine University places great value on creating safe, caring, and productive learning spaces for faculty and students both in and outside of the classroom. This includes respectful listening and speaking and treating each person with dignity. As stated in the Student Code of Conduct, our community “celebrates and encourages the free exchange of ideas and opinions. For exchange to occur, there must be continuous acceptance of freedom of expression and civility in disagreement…”  To that end, faculty and students share in the responsibility to develop and maintain learning climates that model appropriate civil discourse and behavior.

Policy for Classroom Student Behavior

According to the Student Code of Conduct and Community Expectations, the mission of St. Catherine University provides for excellence in education through the search for truth and justice. In accordance with the mission, the University expects all students to uphold the highest standards of personal conduct within the classroom and in other academic settings (clinicals, fieldwork) and at other university-related events. Students are expected to treat each other and the instructor or person in charge with common courtesy, decency, and respect and therefore, will refrain from behaviors that interfere with effective instruction and student learning.

Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive behavior can be defined as behavior that substantially or repeatedly interferes with the instructor’s ability to conduct class or other students’ ability to learn. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Being verbally abusive to the instructor or other students; personal insults
  • Persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention, both in and out of the classroom
  • Refusing to comply with the directions of the instructor
  • Contacting the instructor at home without permission
  • Behaviors indicating a romantic or other obsessive interest in an instructor
  • Threatening, intimidating or harassing the instructor or other students
  • Threats of physical assault
  • Inappropriate use of electronic devices including sending and receiving texts or email, answering cell phone
  • Inappropriate talking in class without permission; making noise and repeatedly interrupting.

If the situation cannot be resolved by the instructor and student, the instructor will inform the student that a referral may be made to the appropriate campus Academic Affairs office and/or Office of Student Affairs for possible Student Code of Conduct and Community Expectations charges.

In extreme cases in which in the judgment of the instructor, a student’s conduct threatens his/her own health and safety or the health and safety of others, or a student is so highly disruptive that instruction cannot take place, immediate removal from the classroom may be appropriate, and the instructor has the right to ask the student to leave the class.  If a student fails to do so, the instructor may contact Public Safety for immediate assistance.

Note: If a student's behavior is impacting class but it is not an extreme/serious conduct violation, and it is suspected that the behavior may be related to a disability, individuals are advised to contact Student Accessibility and Accommodations in the O'Neill Center.