The Violent Student
Violence due to emotional distress is rare and typically occurs when the student’s level of frustration has been so intense or of such an enduring nature as to erode all of the student’s emotional controls. The adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” best applies here. Violent behavior is often associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.
- Prevent total frustration and helplessness by quickly and calmly acknowledging the intensity of the situation, e.g., “I can see you’re really upset and may be tempted to lash out”.
- Explain clearly and directly what behaviors are acceptable without denying his/her feelings, e.g., “You certainly have the right to be angry, but breaking things is not OK”
- Get necessary help – Call 911. (send someone for other staff, public safety, etc.).
- Stay safe: have easy access to a door; keep furniture between you and the student; keep door open if possible & appropriate; make certain that a staff, faculty, or another person is nearby and accessible; in some instances, you may wish to see the student only with another person present if you fear for your safety.
- The K-State Police Department responds to all threatening campus situations. When students are involved, the Critical Incident Response Team, or CIRT, promptly convenes, gathers information, plans and coordinates the response.
- Ignore warning signs that the student is about to explode, e.g., yelling, screaming, clenched fists, threats.
- Threaten or corner the student.
- Touch the student.
- See the student alone if you fear for your safety.
Counseling Services, Kansas State University – adapted from information by UC-Davis Counseling and Psychological Services