Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Disruptive Behavior Policy

We are living in uncertain times. A person could disrupt a Sunday Service or other SUUF meeting.  People and groups may be verbally or physically attacked because of their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or other reasons.

In approving a Disruptive Behavior Policy (DBP), the Board does not anticipate that an act such as this would occur at SUUF functions. However, we need to be vigilant and prepared to deal with having a disruptive person (DP) during a service or other SUUF event.

The DP may be a current member, friend, or, more likely, a visitor.

Dealing with a disruptive person during a Sunday Service can be challenging and sensitive. The DP may be experiencing emotional distress, personal conflict, lack of engagement or may disagree with what the service is presenting. A visitor who becomes disruptive may have planned an action of protest, and that may present a more serious situation.

It is important to handle such situations with wisdom, compassion, and firmness.

A Security Team (ST) member(s) is to act if there is a disruption during a service or a SUUF-sponsored event. The disruption may be non-intentional or intentional, and either needs to be dealt with.

Here are some possible steps the ST member can take to deal with a disruptive person:

  • Calmly and quietly, along with a witness, approach the person and ask them to follow you to the foyer or other place outside of the present setting.
  • Share that their actions make it difficult for others in the room.
  • Ask what brought on their actions and listen to understand.
  • Suggest that the DP leave the building today and to let you know if and when they might wish to return.
  • If the person refuses to leave or becomes violent, ask someone to call the police for assistance. Do not try to physically restrain or confront the person yourself. Protect yourself and others from harm.
  • Write a description of the incident and for the minister and board president.
  • To return to Sunday services or a SUUF function at a future date, the DP needs first to meet with a member of the Security Team. The ST member(s) will use her/his judgement as to whether the person is likely to cause a future disruption.
  • If a disruption occurs again, the board may decide to refuse the DP admittance to SUUF.

After the situation is resolved, the minister and board president must be informed. The board will determine necessary steps to be taken to reinstate the person who was removed.

Adopted by Board of Trustees March 15, 2024