Adapted from North Carolina State University's "Managing Classroom Disruptions" Guide

Concerning Student Behavior vs. Disruptive Student Behavior

Students may cause disruptions in class for a variety of reasons, ranging from an instance of disrespect to behavior triggered by a student crisis or trauma. Such disruptions could include tardiness or absence from class, interruptions to lectures, sudden loss of interest or motivation in class work or participation, or inappropriate communication with fellow students or instructors. Engaging the student on these or other disruptive behaviors in a private manner is the first step in distinguishing whether a student needs further support or outside resources. 

Discussing a Disruptive Incident

Ask the student to meet with you privately, as close to the disruptive incident as possible. The privacy of this meeting ensures that the student can be honest with you, avoids embarrassment of peers overhearing the discussion, and promotes a genuine conversation on the behavior. Make sure you are clear, but nonjudgmental during this meeting.

Be sure to discuss the following:

  • The behavior you are speaking to them about
  • How the behavior negatively impacts the class
  • How the student can change their behavior to abide by your expectations
  • A follow-up on whether the student can agree to what you've discussed

By being direct with the student, and allowing them an opportunity to explain themselves or voice concerns, most students are able to recognize their error, apologize, and subsequently change their disruptive behavior.

However, if the student is still concerning in the following ways, further action may be required:

  • The student over-reacted to your request or recount of their disruptive behavior
  • The student denied that their behavior was disruptive in an irrational or disrespectful manner
  • The student shared a personal trauma or crisis that is affecting their ability to be a successful student
  • The student seemed disoriented, or unfocused during the meeting, or had trouble putting together coherent thoughts

Further Action


A Student of Concern can be reported to the Dean of Students' office using this online form. The Dean of Students' Welfare team will assess the concern, decide the best course of action for engaging the student, and follow up with the reportee. 

If you are looking to file an instance of Student Academic Misconduct or Student Conduct, follow these links. 

Removing Students from Class

According to MSU's Student Conduct Code, students may be removed from a class period for being disruptive. 

"Students who engage in any prohibited or unlawful acts that result in disruption of a class may be directed by the instructor to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. The term "prohibited acts" includes behavior prohibited by the instructor, including but not limited to, smoking in the classroom, persistently speaking without being recognized or called upon, refusing to be seated, and disrupting the class by leaving and entering the room without authorization." (Student Conduct Code 431.00 Disruptive Student)


Faculty also have the option of seeking long-term removal for a student.

"Longer suspensions from a class or dismissal from a course on disciplinary grounds must be preceded by a charge of a violation of the Student Conduct Code and by a Student Conduct Hearing as set forth in Section 650.00 of the Student Conduct Code, if requested by the student or the instructor. A student dismissed from a class as the result of a Student Conduct Hearing will be assigned a grade of F (Failing). The student may register to re-take the course at a later date in accordance with existing University policy. It must be emphasized that this provision is not designed to be used as a means to punish classroom dissent. The expression of disagreement with the instructor or classmates is not in itself disruptive behavior." (Student Conduct Code 431.00 Disruptive Student)