Identifying a Student Who is Aggressive or Potentially Violent

 Facts About Aggression

  • Aggression varies from threats to verbal abuse to physical abuse and violence.
  • It is very difficult to predict aggression and violence.

 Some indicators of potential violence may include:

  •  Paranoia/mistrust
  • An unstable school or vocational history
  • A history of juvenile violence or substance abuse
  • Prior history of violence or abuse
  • Fascination with weapons
  • History of cruelty to animals as a child or adolescent
  • Impulse control problems
  • Fire-starting behaviors


  • Report the situation immediately (828.227.8911) if you feel in danger.
  • If you feel safe to stay with the student, remain in an open area with a close exit.
  • Enlist the help of a co-worker.
  • Explain to the student the behaviors that are unacceptable.
  • If the student refuses to cooperate and remains aggressive or agitated, reschedule the meeting.
  • Consult with professionals at the Office of Student Affairs (828.227.7147), Counseling and Psychological Services (828.227.7469) or the Department of Student Community Ethics (DSCE) (828.227.7234) to document the situation and determine if student disciplinary action is necessary.


  • Staying in a situation in which you feel unsafe.
  • Meeting alone with the student.
  • Engaging in a screaming match or behaving in other ways that escalate anxiety and aggression.
  • Ignoring signs that student’s anger is escalating.
  • Touching the student or crowding his or her sense of personal space.
  • Ignoring a gut reaction that you are in danger.




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