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Privacy Laws and Talking to Each Other

If you aren't sure about student privacy laws, you may be reluctant to share information about distressed, disruptive, or dangerous students. That can prevent you from receiving support, guidance, and the opportunity to create a plan for how to respond to the situation. Read more about student privacy laws and what information you can share on our FERPA page.

Helping A Distressed Student

Clinicians are not normally the first people students turn to when they have problems. Friends, Room Advisors, advisors, faculty, and family members, often spend the most time with students and are able to notice changes in behavior and personality. Pay attention to common signs of distress and follow these tips for how to offer support and help a distressed student.

Responding To A Dangerous Student

Being confronted by a student who appears dangerous and potentially violent is a stressful situation and often leaves faculty and staff feeling unprepared to deal with the situation. It is important to have a framework to identify students with significant potential for dangerous behavior and respond appropriately.

Classroom And Content Concerns For Faculty

It's important for faculty members to have a plan for efficiently and effectively dealing with disruptive behavior in the classroom as well as how to respond to disturbing content in a student's academic work.

Counseling and Self-Care Resources for Faculty and Staff

The Employee Assistance Program offers most faculty and staff up to four counseling sessions with a local clinician for issues including mental health, alcohol or drug abuse, child or elder care, grief counseling and legal or financial services.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to join Balanced Dukes - a work-life balance and wellness program. Balanced Dukes strives to help our employees reach a blend of personal satisfaction in four core areas, Work, Family, Community, and Self, in pursuit of a meaningful quality of life. For any questions, please contact Tara Roe, Work Life & Engagement Specialist at


The following downloadable resources were created to provide guidance for faculty and staff working to support students:

The Purple Folder provides an easily accessible summary of: how to recognize signs of student distress, steps for how to respond, & refer with an easy to follow list of resources available.

Helping a Suicidal Student Remotely offers an overview of specific steps and considerations if you are concerned a student you are working to support may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. To learn more about suicide prevention, you can also visit the reducing the risk of suicide at JMU Counseling Center resource page.

If you have additional questions, contact the Counseling Center at 540-568-6552

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