Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if a student is in distress?
- Depressed mood & Lethargy
- Hyperactivity or rapid speech
- Unexplained crying, irritability, anxiety, or anger
- Lowering of academic performance, changes in attendance or
participation, decreased ability to concentrate
- Changes in personal hygiene, dress, or appetite
- Strange or bizarre behavior indicating loss of contact with reality
- Talking or writing about suicide or homicide
- Highly disruptive behavior (e.g., hostility, aggression, and violence)
What can I do for a student in distress?
- Arrange to talk with the student outside of class time and express your concerns in
terms of specific behaviors.
- Listen to thoughts and feelings in a sensitive, nonjudgmental way.
- Use directly but non-threatening terms. It is better to state your concern directly
than to ignore the behaviors.
- Take all suicidal/homicidal expression seriously and seek immediate help from the
Texas Tech Police Department.
- Tell the student that help is available and that seeking help is a sign of strength.
- Make the appropriate referral(s). Students should make their own appointment if possible.
You could offer to walk the student to the appropriate office or allow them to use
your phone to schedule an immediate appointment.
- Follow-up is an important part of the process. Check with the student later to find
out how he or she is progressing and if they followed through with the referral.
How do I address inappropriate classroom behavior that may be related to a student
- Clearly establish classroom behavioral expectations in your syllabus and address behavioral
problems accordingly. For suggestions on syllabus wording or tips on maintaining civility
in the classroom, refer to the Student Judicial Programs website and the Civility
in the Classroom brochure at www.depts.ttu.edu/studentjudicialprograms
- The Texas Tech Police Department is available to assist with threats of violence,
physical or verbal abuse and uncooperative students (refusing to leave class). Report
suspected illegal activity such as physical and verbal abuse to university police.
If a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or other, or acts in a bizarre,
highly irrational or disruptive way, call the Texas Tech Police Department at (806)
742-3931 or 9-911 from a campus phone in case of emergencies.
- Behavioral issues and classroom disruptions, even those related to mental health,
can be referred to Student Judicial Programs, where disciplinary sanctions may result.
In addition, document the incident with your student records and inform your department
chair of disruptive activity and student concerns.
I’ve heard about FERPA an HIPPA. Should I be concerned about issues of confidentiality,
FERPA, HIPAA when assisting a distressed student?
- FERPA refers to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA is a Federal
law that protects the privacy of student education records. For more information on
FERPA, contact Student Judicial Programs at 742-1714.
- HIPPA refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA addresses
the security and privacy of Health Services at 743-2860.
- It is important to inform students that all contact with the Student Counseling Center
or Student Health Services are confidential. Information about contact with these
offices can only be released with the student’s written request, in circumstances
where there is clear and present danger to the student or others, or other specific
conditions allowed by law.
- Issues of confidentiality should not be a deterrent to talking with a student about
your concerns. In addition, issues of confidentiality should not hinder your from
calling any office to discuss a student you are concerned about or for suggestions
on how to work with a student in crisis. While these offices can only share student
information within the limits of the law, it is important as campus colleagues to
have open lines of ommunication about pertinent student information and increasingly
important to discuss issues for the benefit of students and the campus community.
When Should I call Campus Police?
- Whenever you feel there is a threat of violence or other unlawful behavior-including
a students’ refusal to leave a class after being told to do so. Any threat of violence
should be taken seriously. Wee on the side of caution and notify the police as soon
I have not seen the student in a few weeks. What can I do?
- OP 34.04 states “when absences jeopardize a student’s standing in a class, it is the
responsibility of the instructor to report that fact to the student’s dean.”
- The case Manager for Student Affairs may assist in contacting the student.