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Responding to a Student's Threatening Behavior

Factors Contributing to Aggressive Behavior

There is no single explanation for aggressive behavior and many different factors contribute to it. Factors associated with aggressive behavior include:

  • History of physical fighting or vandalism
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Discovery of detailed plans to commit violence
  • Making direct, veiled or conditional threats of violence
  • History of controlling others
  • Excessive need for attention or respect
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Early childhood abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing violence at home, in the community or in the media
  • History of being bullied
  • Easy access to weapons

If you have concerns that a student might become aggressive in the future, and if you decide to speak with the student privately, use the following:

  • Leave your office door open.
  • Alert a nearby colleague in advance.
  • Be simple and direct as you speak.
  • Express your concern to the student citing the worrisome behaviors you have observed.
  • Be non-judgemental.
  • Be consistent.