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How Not to Handle Nerves About Teaching

Teaching a college course can surely give an inexperienced instructor butterflies. But one University of Pittsburgh graduate student’s strategy for coping with that stress didn’t work out so well.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Nancy Bruni, a Pitt graduate student, got nervous about teaching a class in March, and allegedly made bomb threats to avoid it.

A criminal complaint filed by the campus police said Ms. Bruni claimed to be anxious and depressed. She also told the police that her health insurance had ended, leaving her without medication. That anxiety forced her to search for a way to cancel the class:

[Police] wrote in the complaint that Ms. Bruni confessed to calling in the first threat. She became angry that the university did not send out an alert evacuating the building, police said, and wrote a threatening note and placed it in the women’s bathroom, where one of her students found it. That student called the campus police while two others went to notify Ms. Bruni.

When the school did not send out an emergency alert evacuating the building, some of Ms. Bruni’s students became upset and “she used this fact to cancel class,” according to the complaint.

If the phrases “University of Pittsburgh” and “bomb threat” sound familiar, that’s because the campus was shaken by a series of threats last spring. But a Pitt spokesman told the Post-Gazette that the recent incident was not related to the others. Ms. Bruni didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

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