What to Look for In the Classroom

There are several behaviors that students with anxiety or OCD may exhibit in the classroom. If you are a teacher or school faculty member, it's important to be able to recognize these behaviors and take action.

What behaviors might students with anxiety and/or OCD exhibit in school?


In this video, Denise Egan Stack, LMHC, talks about the different behaviors that students with anxiety and/or OCD can exhibit.


Read below for additional information about anxiety and/or OCD behaviors that school personnel can identify in students.

Common Behaviors of Students with Anxiety and/or OCD

Some of the anxiety and OCD behaviors that teachers and other school faculty should look for in students are listed below. Click the plus sign (+) to the right of each behavior to view details and examples.


Students who are experiencing anxiety or OCD may exhibit the following behaviors:

Centering Racial Equity

In any discussion of disabilities and/or conditions that impact school functioning, it's important to reflect on the potential inequities that occur for students of color in this space. Research shows that there is a "significant disproportionality" that exists for BIPOC students, particularly when it comes to who is identified as needing special education services and how they are treated thereafter. It is thus important for school personnel to use best practices to promote racial equity in approaching how they advocate for and support their students with anxiety/OCD.

Practice Recommendations (adapted from the National Center for Learning Disabilities)

  1. Follow evidence-based evaluation processes to determine eligibility. Seek outside expertise/consultation on including considerations for cultural and/or linguistic differences as-needed.
  2. Prompt administration to audit the district's special education policies and processes, including those surrounding discipline, to identify biases and work to reduce them.
  3. Find ways to develop relationships and create an open dialogue with families. This can help improve understanding of cultural contexts and increase family buy-in.
  4. Invest in training/professional development for all relevant school personnel on disability identification and student support. Emphasize improving workforce diversity and culturally responsive practices.
  5. Prioritize accurate and transparent data collection and reporting, including standardizing data collection processes.

What Should You Do If You Recognize a Student with Anxiety or OCD?

If you notice symptoms of anxiety or OCD in a student, there are steps that you can take to help. For information, resources, and tools to help manage students with anxiety or OCD, visit our Resources for School Personnel.

Our Work Young Person with anxiety jumping over a ball
Our Work Young people with OCD helping each other
Our Work Teacher looking up info on OCD