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Rose-Hulman student lawsuit alleges abuse from professors

A student with Auditory Processing Disorder, which affects a person’s ability to understand spoken language, has sued Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, saying it failed to accommodate his disability.

Officials at the undergraduate engineering school dispute the allegations and say they take “enormous pride in helping each student experience personal growth and success.”

Justin Castelino, a senior at Rose-Hulman, filed suit in federal court claiming discrimination, retaliation on the basis of disability, negligence, harassment, failing to provide a duty of care and breaching the student’s rights.

The suit names 12 faculty and staff members, including the head of the Department of Civil Engineering, who allegedly denied Castelino accommodations such as tutors and extra time to take tests. Professors expressed in public that they were interested in “studying how Castelino’s mind works,” the suit said.

His lawyer, John Thrasher, contends that Caselino was subjected to “inhumane treatment” by professors and administration.

Mary Wade Atteberry, a spokesperson for the school, said: “We have a very different summation of facts and events that we look forward to presenting at the appropriate time.”

Castelino is a Stamford, Conn.,ecticut resident, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Auditory Processing Disorder when he was 3, according to the suit.

Patients with Auditory Processing Disorder “have difficulty comprehending spoken language in competing speech or noise backgrounds and in reverberation,” according to a 1999 article in the Journal of American Academy of Audiology.

Such children frequently ask for repetitions, say “what” and “huh” a lot, show extreme auditory inattentiveness and have trouble paying attention, the report said. Sufferers are easily distracted, often misunderstand messages and have trouble following complex auditory directions.

Background noises are distracting to those with Auditory Processing Disorder, which is characterized as a disability according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Thrasher said Castelino, who began attending courses at Rose-Hulman in 2012, has difficulty in comprehending auditory instructions, and must have lessons written down.

Castelino had an approved note taker to make certain that lecture information was properly reflected in notes for Castelino’s use. Among other accommodations, Castelino was given additional time on exams.

Several incidents are outlined in the complaint. In one, Castelino asked a professor for extended testing time in a quiet testing room and allegedly was told, “If you want to exercise your right to an additional 50 minutes, I need you to come in at 7:10 a.m.” However, the building did not open until 8 a.m.

The professor’s decision “obligated Castelino to sleep on the floor of the classroom the night before the exam,” the suit claimed, without a cot or bed.

Castelino’s attorney calls the situation “outrageously unreasonable and abusive,” and mentioned other issues. Among them, the complaint said Castelino was charged with academic misconduct when a professor wrote him up for using a printed chart on an exam, when another professor had given Castlino permission to use the sheet.

The plaintiff has completed all but 10 remaining course credits at the school. He seeks lost tuition, costs of counseling and punitive damages, among others.

Rose-Hulman is consistently ranked America’s No. 1 undergraduate engineering college, according to the U.S. News & World Report for its college guidebook.

Federal Lawsuit filed against Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Posted On April 14, 2017 BY admin

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