What do you do when you can’t pass a final? Sue the school, naturally. It sounds like the plot of a comedy starring Emma Stone, but it’s really happening. A Misericordia University nursing student who twice failed to pass a required course has actually filed a federal lawsuit against the institution alleging she “broke down and wept more than once” during an exam because her professor didn’t help her enough. The last time I checked, crying can get you out of a speeding ticket but not a final.
Jennifer Burbella of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania said school officials failed to abide by federal law to accommodate learning disabilities she has including anxiety, depression, and stress. According to the lawsuit, Burbella asked for help including extended time to complete exams, and communication with a professor during a test.
The professor did give her a distraction-free environment apart from other students and extra time for her final exam, but apparently didn’t respond to questions via telephone, stressing Burbella out more during the test.
I understand students with disabilities. I even worked in a school for kids with varying disabilities for four summers so I know that they need to work under special conditions to succeed. However, Burbella was given extra time, a separate space, and she was taking the final for a second time. She practically knew what was going to be asked.
Burbella is seeking in excess of $75,000 in damages, but her attorney said what she wants more than anything is a chance to take the exam again. “She’s not looking for the university to ordain that she get this degree, she’s looking for a fair opportunity, which the statute provides, to take the exam. If she fails it that’s her own problem and she has to deal with it,” said attorney. However, Burbella is no longer a student at Misericordia University, so I guess that’s not happening.
Maybe Burbella needs to seek another profession. The medical field is a stressful one, and I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure nurses who need help or extra time could mean life or death in certain situations. I know I wouldn’t want her as my nurse.