Some history: Silly walks Sally to class, he waits for her outside of the classroom, and walks her to her next class. Silly skips his own classes so he can sit outside of Sally's classroom to watch her. They are in LOOOOOVE, as displayed by Sally's waving and blowing of kisses to Silly as he moons over the distance of the 50 feet that separate them when she's in class and I refuse him entrance to the classroom. On the occasions when I have shut the door in Silly's face because he presents a distraction to not just Sally, he merely moves to the outside of the classroom to observe through the window. They usually settle down after a minute once we engage in an activity or lecture, so are not as disruptive as they could be. At the end of class, their reunions have included Sally doing a running jump into Silly's skinny arms, the likes of which we usually only see when military personnel return after a deployment. Then sometimes Silly and Sally break up, usually at her behest, and Silly sits forlornly outside watching Sally from afar until they make up again. It's not an example of a healthy relationship.
Aside from physically barring Silly from the classroom, and talking with Sally about how their behavior is disruptive and how she should probably talk with a counselor about her relationship, I've ignored their love and its ups and down. Today it was down, as evidenced by Silly's texting Sally something awful enough at the beginning of class to lead to the double dose of drama and tears. Lots and lots of tears.
In the past, when a student has cried in class, it has usually been done quietly and surreptitiously, or during a speech when they pick a topic they shouldn't have chosen for a speech. This was my first "loud crying" incident. Sally was in full-blown diva mode, seeking attention and wailing her despair.
To try to calm her down, I got the class started on a discussion and then asked if she could please step outside the room. She refused to budge. "But Silly is out there...somewhere..." So then I tried cajoling, "OK, if you stay in the room, please just cry quietly." She continued to sob in hiccuping gasps that no one could ignore. At this point, no discussion had started and no discussion was likely to take place, given that the first seven minutes of class had already passed and Sally was nowhere near done with crying. I asked her if she felt she needed medical or counseling attention. She declined both: "I just need to cry," she said.
To solve the problem of needing to continue with class, I moved the whole class next door to an empty classroom and left Sally crying in the classroom with a girlfriend who was attempting to comfort her. We could still hear her wailing, but we could continue with class. Had Sally been belligerent, I would have called Campus Safety, but it seemed too harsh a step to take in this case.
I will be talking with Sally tomorrow about her behavior and how it disrupted class and how she is now on alert to be kicked out (our new classroom disruption process includes a warning, then an actual removal for that class period, and then dismissal from the course if the problem continues), but at the time, while she was heartbroken, I couldn't bring myself to put her on notice.
What would you have done?