Threatening Student Behaviors

Your Safety

Encounters with students that leave you feeling frightened or threatened should be taken very seriously. Any time you feel personally threatened, stop the interaction and leave.

  • Never deal with a potentially dangerous person alone.
  • Make plans to have additional persons int he meeting or in the area to assist if necessary.
  • Contact UNI Police if the situation warrants, preferably in advance of the meeting.

Response to Threats

Although it is a common myth that violent perpetrators just snap, in fact, almost all violent perpetrators will give some indication of violent intentions long before they act.

  • All threats must be taken seriously.
  • People tend to reward those who threaten by backing down or retaliating, either way the perpetrator is reinforced with attention.
  • Threats which are ignored provide the perpetrator with the feeling they are not being taken seriously.

Hints to De-escalate Conflict

  • Take a deep breath and relax
  • Look the other person in the eye
  • Both either sit or stand when communicating
  • Speak slowly and softly
  • Keep your arms and legs uncrossed
  • Remember to look for win-win results
  • Paraphrase what the other person has said
  • Give "I" messages
  • Watch your language; try not to use words that tend to escalate conflict, such as never, always, unless, can't, won't or don't
  • Use words that tend to de-escalate, such as maybe, perhaps, what if or seems like.
  • Ask questions to encourage them to look at solutions
  • Ask open-ended questions