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The Student who may be Aggressive or Potentially Violent

Your responsibilities are not to diagnose or provide therapy; it is the development of a compassionate and forthright conversation that ultimately helps a student in trouble find understanding, support, and the proper therapeutic resources.

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:

  • Expressed paranoia/mistrust
  • A highly unstable school or vocational history
  • A history of juvenile violence or substance abuse
  • Prior history of violence or abuse, including history of arrests
  • Fascination with weapons (e.g., guns or knives)
  • History of cruelty to animals
  • Impulse control problems
  • Fire-starting behaviors

Think about:

  • Your level of safety. Call 911 if you feel in danger.
  • If you feel it is appropriate to stay with the student, remain in an open area with a
  • visible means of escape (sit closest to the door and do not let the student get between
  • you and the door).
  • Enlist the help of a co-worker.
  • Explain to the student the behaviors that are unacceptable ("I am glad to talk with you if
  • you are willing to speak with me without yelling.").
  • Consult with professionals at the UNF Police Department (904) 620-2800, the Dean of
  • Students' office (904) 620-1491), or the Counseling Center (904) 620-2602.
  • Document the interaction.


  • Staying in a situation in which you feel unsafe.
  • Meeting alone with the student.
  • Engaging in a argument or escalating the situation
  • Ignoring signs that the student's anger is escalating.
  • Touching the student or crowding their sense of personal space.
  • Ignoring a gut reaction that you are in danger.

If a student makes a threat by text, email, mail or phone:


Threatening texts, mail, email, or phone calls received at your home should be referred to your local police department, the UNF Police Department and the Dean of Students. Texts, mail, email, or phone calls received on campus should be referred to the UNF Police Department (904) 620-2800. DO NOT DELETE these emails, texts, voicemails, instant messages, pictures, etc.