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Student’s Violent Outburst, Part Three

barclay_barrios
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(Please note that the video discussed in this post contains violence and offensive language. Many of the comments left on YouTube are also offensive.) When I watch the YouTube video of a student’s outburst at my school, there’s one question that I try to push to the edge of my mind: What would I have done if this occurred in a class that I was teaching? The worst incident I’ve ever experienced in a class happened during my first semester of teaching. One of my students called me Hitler and stormed out of class. Fortunately, that ended well and the student ended up doing great in the class. But what would I do if a student “went crazy”? At my school we actually have a flow chart—yes, a flow chart—on what to do under various circumstances: if a student seems depressed, if a student threatens violence, if a student disrupts class. But somehow that feels so woefully inadequate to me. Have you ever had a serious class disruption? How did you handle it? And how’s this for irony? Literally as I typed that sentence I got an e-mail from my department chair. Several of our teachers have now been asking what to do in such a situation. The answer, apparently, is call 911. School and violence are words too often coupled these days, as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what I would do in that moment. How about you?  
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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.