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Lawsuit: Hearing-Impaired Girl Was Expelled Because Of Disability

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St. Scholastica Academy

A lawsuit claims St. Scholastica Academy expelled a student for disciplinary problems that actually stemmed from the limitations of her hearing impairment. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — St. Scholastica Academy in the Rogers Park neighborhood is being sued by the parents of an expelled student with hearing difficulties.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, the lawsuit by Aamed Pryor and Niya Jackson says their daughter enrolled in 2008 at the all-girls Roman Catholic high school, at 7416 N. Ridge Blvd., with hearing difficulties that require hearing aids in both ears.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports

The suit claims that requests were made for accommodations for their daughter, including preferential seating in her classes, and extra care and patience taken when explaining her lessons.

But the girl was expelled last December for what were termed disciplinary problems, all of which the lawsuit claims actually revolve around the limitations caused by her hearing impairment.

The girl received detention several times for “failure to listen,” “failure to respond to teacher request,” and “failure to clear response with teacher,” the suit said. All of these disciplinary infractions are directly related to the child’s impairment and her inability to hear and perceive things the way normal “unimpaired children” at school do, the suit alleged.

The suit claims the girl repeatedly tried to ask questions when she didn’t understand something in class , but instead of answering her questions, teachers gave her detention for being disrespectful and failing to listen and respond.

When the child tried to speak with the school principal about the issue, she was given more detentions for disturbing the principal, the suit said. She was told she was wrong to come to the principal, and ordered not to ask questions, according to the suit.

During a parent-teacher conference about the situation, the child’s parents were told that she could not ask questions, the suit said. Principal Colleen J. Brewer issued a letter to Jackson, Dec. 6, 2011, stating that her daughter was expelled from the school without any right of appeal, the suit said.

The suit said the child has undergone therapy to cope with depression because she does not understand why she was punished for being disabled.

The suit seeks the child’s immediate return to school in full standing, to expunge her disciplinary record, and all needed accommodations made to ensure her proper participation in her classes. Tutors should also be provided to help her catch up on missed work.

Susan Burritt, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said she hadn’t seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment. Loretta Namovic, president of Saint Scholastic Academy, was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening.

Principal Brewer and the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago were also named in the suit.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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