Student sues university after twice failing to pass course

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DALLAS, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania nursing student is suing Misericordia University officials after she twice failed to pass a course.

Jennifer Burbella of Stroudsburg was enrolled at Misericordia University, but her attorney said because of disabilities including anxiety, depression, and stress, she needed help. Burbella claims school officials failed to abide by federal law, according to WNEP.

According to a federal lawsuit, Burbella asked for extended time to complete exams and communication with a professor during a test. She claims Misericordia officials did not follow through on those things, so she failed to pass the required course twice.

According to the lawsuit, Burbella tried to call her professor during the examination. When that professor did not answer, a witness saw Burbella "...on several occasions during the exam...breaking down and crying."

Misericordia University officials told WNEP, "We do not comment on matters of litigation," but others are talking about it.

McGrath, Burbella's attorney, specializes in education law, representing students, families, teachers, and administrators.

"She has some disabilities and under section 504 of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1973, you can make certain accommodations, not only in educational setting, but in the workplace, et cetera,"McGrath said.

McGrath said his client's disabilities should not keep her from being a nurse.

"I think many people suffer from anxiety, depression, and those types of things who are doctors, lawyers, nurses," said McGrath.

According to the lawsuit, 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 McGrath.

Burbella is no longer a student at Misericordia University.