Investigative look at how City College handles incedents of classroom disruptions
By Patrick Fitzgerald/Social Media Director
An attempted kidnapping at City College on Oct. 13 and multiple killings and injuries at an Oregon community college on Oct. 2 may indicate a greater need for oversight of potentially dangerous student behavior.
City College has a comprehensive system in place to deal with disruptive student behavior called the Distressed Student Response Protocol. Summarized in a concise one-page document, it is a flowchart for handling disruptive behavior.
The college also has the College Assessment Intervention Response Team, also known as the CAIR Team, which reviews evolving trends and topics of students in distress. CAIR’s purpose is to audit campus-wide communication and figure out ways to do more training and potential intervention strategies to promote health, wellness and safety.
Campus awareness of the response protocol is developed through various trainings for faculty and staff: flex day, professional development, departmental and one-on-one.
“What are ways to support the (distressed) student without being judgemental or pulling them out and also support the other students in their learning?
— Samuel Santos
Dean of Student Affairs Samuel Santos is primarily responsible for campus safety.
“It’s distributed during new employee orientation,” Santos said. “Every new employee who comes through, faculty or staff, I get about 45 minutes in front of.”
During these meetings, Santos does an overview of how to support students in distress as an interactive session of role playing for teachers to practice handling students and understand when an issue needs to be referred to other campus resources.
For the past three years Santos has done a presentation about classroom management on faculty flex days at least once each year. No group orientation has been held for classified staff flex days, but staff does have the option to join faculty flex day sessions.
“What are ways to support the (distressed) student without being judgmental or pulling them out, and also support the other students in their learning?” Santos said. “We pick three random scenarios – some related to drugs and alcohol, some related to (the perception that) someone needs more support outside with a social agency, and then just general disruptions.”
Santos feels not enough is being done. The school is contemplating ideas to improve teachers’ access to trainings by moving some of the materials online with a possible 15- or 30-minute video available “as needed.” The goal is to be “supportive and restorative” and less punitive to the student.
When incidents occur, a report is filed by the faculty or staff to notify Santos about the disruptive student, provide background and contact information for the student, and start the process of providing support.
Santos then arranges a meeting with the student to discuss the issue, highlighting the student’s circumstances and connecting the student to resources at the college and in the community.
It is also is an opportunity for reiterating college behavioral policies and escalating sanctions which could lead to expulsion, as a very last resort. A follow-up appointment is then scheduled for two weeks later.
“We know that if students aren’t here they’re out doing other things that usually don’t lead to anything very productive for themselves,” Santos said. “I try my best to figure out something that’s workable for (a) faculty (or) staff person, the employee and the student.”
An investigation will follow in the next issue of The Guardsman, available on December 2, as to whether these strategies are working effectively across the City College campuses and centers.
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