Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Just keep lowering the bar.........

Jennifer Burbella was accepted into the nursing program in 2010 at Misericordia University in Dallas PA.  She knew in 2010 that she had an existing predisposition that caused her to suffer from anxiety and depression.  Burbella was seeing a school psychologist for her depression, poor concentration and anxiety by the 2011 school year.

In the spring of 2014, Burbella failed Functional Health Patterns of Adults IV, which is a required course for nursing students.  Students are required to pass the class with a minimum grade of 78 percent and Burbella failed to meet that minimum.  She then states that she was pressured into retaking the class during the summer session which began in four days.  It should be noted that Burbella's lawsuit is centered around her failure in this particular class twice but this is an example of failure in one course preventing someone from graduating.

Burbella had struggled through her courses throughout her attempt to receive a Bachelor degree in nursing with average and below average grades.  Her lawyer, Harry P McGrath stated that she struggled through her college career with anxiety in social and academic challenges and family medical issues.  The university had agreed to make special accommodations for Burdella when she took the final exam for the class the second time.  Unfortunately, she did not pass the test the second time either.

Now Burbella is suing the university, the president, the nursing professor and the head of the nursing department for violating the Federal Rehabilitation Act.  She contends that they did not follow through with making good on the accommodations she expected to have during her second final exam.  The university had agreed to have her take the test in a separate, distraction free environment, extra time to take the test and the instructor had offered to be available to answer questions she may have had while taking the exam.

They had set Burbella up in a separate building that was distraction free and unfortunately, her instructor was now scheduled to proctor the same exam to the rest of her class in another building.  Burbella is complaining that another student with disabilities was given a better deal in that that student could take the exam in the same building as the instructor.  Another of her problems is that she had been told the instructor would be available to answer questions and because she was proctoring an exam, she did not answer Burbella's frequent cell phone calls.

The school counselor witnessed Burbella's unanswered calls and confirms that she became stressed even more, to the point of crying.  Burbella is suing for $75,000 because they did not give her enough help to pass the class and graduate but she would rather have the chance to retake the exam and pass.  Burbella is no longer enrolled in the university though.  Other students on campus have a different view of the accommodations she demanded....... they felt that if she was unable to keep up with a demanding degree program, maybe she was not cut out for a career there.

There is a federal law to assist those people with disabilities for a reason but for a student who has struggled throughout a degree program and then demands even more special care so they can pass, make me wonder if they really should have a job in such a stressful environment.

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