Funny you should ask this, Interested One. Someone else on another board was only just discussing the same thing! But the issue about treating a progressive Bible student as DFed was to do with if s/he 'engages in wrongdoing' - not to do with merely stopping the study.
NONBAPTIZED ASSOCIATES WHO ARE WRONGDOERS
What of nonbaptized individuals who have been recognized as approved associates, have shared in the field service with the congregation or even have enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School, but who have now become involved in serious wrongdoing? They should be dealt with in a way similar to that of baptized Witnesses with the exception that, not being recognized members of the congregation, they could not be formally expelled therefrom. It may be that they do not fully understand the Bible's standards, and kind counsel may help them to make straight paths for their feet.
If a nonbaptized wrongdoer is still unrepentant after a judicial committee has met with him and tried to help him, then it becomes necessary to inform the congregation. A brief announcement is made that the person is no longer recognized as an approved associate. (1 Cor. 15:33) The congregation will then view the wrongdoer as they would view one who has been disfellowshipped. No field service reports would be accepted from such a person.
- Organized To Accomplish Our Ministry (1983), p. 148-9.
The reversal of the 'treat them as disfellowshipped' policy:
w88 11/15 pp. 18-19 pars. 16-18 Helping Others to Worship God
Help for One Who Errs
... 16 Occasionally, an unbaptized publisher who is a wrongdoer will not respond to loving assistance. Or an unbaptized publisher may determine that he does not want to continue progressing toward baptism, and he informs the elders that he does not want to be recognized as a publisher. What is to be done? Disfellowshipping action is not taken regarding such ones who actually have not become approved by God. The arrangement of disfellowshipping unrepentant wrongdoers applies to those 'called brothers,' to baptized ones. (1 Corinthians 5:11) Does this mean, though, that the wrongdoing is ignored? No.
17 The elders are responsible to 'shepherd the flock of God in their care.' (1 Peter 5:2) If two elders offering help determine that an unbaptized wrongdoer is unrepentant and unqualified to be a publisher, they will inform the individual. [Footnote: If the individual is dissatisfied with this conclusion, he may request (within seven days) to have the matter reviewed.] Or if some unbaptized one tells the elders that he no longer wishes to be recognized as a publisher, they will accept his decision. In either case, it is appropriate for the Congregation Service Committee to have a simple announcement made at an appropriate time, saying " . . . is no longer a publisher of the good news."
18 How will Witnesses thereafter view the person? Well, at an earlier point he was an 'unbeliever' attending meetings. Then he both wanted to be and qualified to be a publisher of the good news. This is no longer the case, so he again is a person of the world. The Bible does not require that Witnesses avoid speaking with him, for he is not disfellowshipped. [Footnote: Previously, unbaptized ones who unrepentantly sinned were completely avoided. While, as adjusted above, this is not required, the counsel at 1 Corinthians 15:33 should still be observed.] Still, Christians will exercise caution with regard to such a person of the world who is not worshiping Jehovah, even as Israelites did regarding uncircumcised alien settlers. This caution helps to protect the congregation from any "little leaven," or corrupting element. (1 Corinthians 5:6)