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Staff Resources 

SAFETY AND SECURITY GUIDELINES FOR DEALING WITH POTENTIALLY VIOLENT STUDENTS

02/15/2008


Proactive Steps
  • Make sure someone has your appointment calendar and knows who you are in your office or work area with at all times.
  • Make arrangements with Program Assistants or receptionists so that they question all visitors and do not allow anyone to enter your office or work area unannounced.
  • Arrange your office reception area so that office staff and visitors are separated by a counter or large desk. Make sure that the person behind the desk has easy access to other office staff as well as an exit route.
  • Keep your door open or cracked if possible when you are meeting with someone.
  • If you suspect a person could be violent during an appointment or visit, let other people in your office know that and ask them to be alert or walk past your work area to check on you. Better yet, ask a colleague to join you in the meeting.
  • Evaluate how your work area (both classroom and office) is arranged and consider an arrangement where you would be closer to the door than a visitor would. Do not allow your egress to be blocked. Limit the number of pictures, vases, paperweights or other items that could be thrown or used as weapons. Know the location of the nearest telephone.
  • Do not agree to see students on evenings, weekends, or other times when there may not be others in the office.
  • If a meeting is necessary and you suspect that the person might become violent, notify Campus Security ahead of time to have an officer sit in on the meeting or be present in the office.
  • Consider asking students to leave their backpacks and book bags outside of your office. Designate an area near the receptionist to hold these materials.
  • Make sure that the waiting area in your office is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Light colors, soft music, comfortable chairs, and an uncluttered area will all contribute to this.
  • Whether in your office or in the classroom, always be alert and look in control. -Stand up or sit up straight. -Focus attention on people as they approach. -Greet people with a firm, controlled, friendly voice and explain what you need.
  • Don't assume that only large males have the potential to become violent.

What if someone gets violent in your office?
  • Remain calm and don't feed into the person's emotion. This helps to let them know that you are the one who is rational and in control. If your hands are shaking, keep them out of sight.
  • Your body language and eye contact should demonstrate that you are in control without intimidating the person. Lean forward and make assertive eye contact (but don't engage in a stare down).
  • Remember everything you learned about interpersonal communication (i.e. paraphrasing, reflection of feeling, etc.) Acknowledge the other person's feelings and listen to what they have to say.
  • Always respect the other person's physical space. Maintain your distance, control your voice, and never touch another person unless absolutely necessary for self-defense.
  • Lower your voice and speak in a soothing tone but be careful to not appear condescending. Slow your speech.
  • Use the person's name as much as possible in the conversation.
  • If the person paces or is standing, try to get them to a seated position. Sit down yourself.
  • Don't feel that you need to have an answer or response for everything the person says. Moments of silence are okay. You can appear to ponder a request.
  • Use the "broken record" technique if necessary or appropriate.
  • Ask them what kinds of options they see. Engaging a person in problem-solving will take their mind (at least temporarily) off of their anger.
  • If you feel threatened, state that there is nothing further you can do right now and ask the person to leave. If the person does not leave, consider leaving yourself and/or calling campus security. (Post their number on your telephone for immediate access; ext. 5691 or ext. 4777). If life threatening dial 911.

Long-term Action
  • As soon as possible, write down everything that happened as you remember it. After an intense incident, memories may become jumbled. Even brief notes will help.
  • After the emergency, contact campus security to make a report and begin an investigation.
  • It's normal to feel shaky after such an incident so don't hesitate to access support services available to you through the Employee Assistance Program by contacting Theda Care’s Ingenuity First (1-800-236-3666).
  • Make sure that you have notified your supervisor and any other appropriate parties.

Conduct Incident Report (Word)

Conduct Incident Report (PDF)
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   Maintained by:

   John Lewis

   Last Modified:
   7/20/2011 9:09:26 AM

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