College Student Sues School After Failing Final Exam -- Twice

A nursing student from Misericordia University in Pennsylvania wasn't happy that she had failed a big exam—twice. So, she is taking legal action against the college and asking for $75,000 in damages.

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There's a bit more to this story than: student sues school because she failed, wah, cry me a river.

Jennifer Burbella is a disabled student who is entitled to accommodations at the Catholic university. After she failed a health final exam the first time, her professor allowed her to retake the test in a distraction-free environment. But she claims the professor promised to be available by phone if she had any questions, and that didn't prove true—resulting in her breaking down in tears and feeling too stressed out to do well. As a result, she will not pass a class that is required in the school's nursing program. 

Burbella also says another student who receives accommodations was treated better and that the way she was treated violates a federal disability discrimination law.

Burbella has been a student in the nursing program since 2010. Misericordia wouldn't comment on the pending litigation, but we do know she is asking for $75,000 in damages.

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If the professor promised that phone questions were allowed and it has been determined this is part of the student's testing accommodations, I believe that maybe (maybe?) she can make a case for why she should be allowed to take the test a third time.

On the other hand, how is she going to handle the actual pressures of the job if she can't perform on the test? Is there some other way to test her that doesn't involve pen and paper—that assesses her nursing skills? I don't know the answer to that question and I don't know if it would be fair to modify the exam.

I DO know that seeking $75K in damages makes zero sense. This student's only concern should be fighting to take a modified version of the exam if her goal is to pass and become a nurse. Stress does not automatically entitle you to money.

Should this student sue her school? 

 

Image via Anthony P. Buce/Flickr

 

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