Student dismissed from surgical program sues Delgado Community College

Andrea Dearden Sep. 23, 2010, 2:51am


A former surgical tech student is suing a community college and the Louisiana State Board of Education for kicking her out of school.

Marylin Hamilton filed a lawsuit against Delgado Community College and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Sept. 21 in Orleans Parish District Court.

According to the lawsuit, Hamilton was studying to be a surgical technician but was told March 12 by her professor that she had "broken rules" and was "not a team player." She was allegedly told she was being dismissed from the program.

Hamilton says she has asked to meet with teachers and administrators at Delgado but none have agreed to talk with her. She says she also has not been give an opportunity to appeal the decision.

Hamilton claims she went to school on March 5 to take a test based on a certain chapter of her course studies. She soon realized she had been given the wrong test and whispered to several classmates who were also given the wrong exam. According to Hamilton, the test moderator took the exam from Hamilton and sent her to another room where she waited for more than three hours. The student says she was eventually confronted by the moderator and a professor. The lawsuit claims the two accused Hamilton of cheating and told her she would be given a zero on the test.

Hamilton says she was able to meet with the director of the surgical tech program on March 10. After hearing Hamilton's explanation of the events, the administator said she would make sure the entire class was given a chance to retake the test.

On March 12 Hamilton says she retook the exam, along with the rest of the class, and passed. But Hamilton claims she was told by her professor immediately after the exam that, because she had spoken with the administrator "behind her back" she was not a "team player" and was no longer wanted in the surgical tech program. Hamilton says she was never given any documentation acknowledging her immediate dismissal.

The petition claims Hamilton tried to appeal the decision through the chancellor's office but has never been able to schedule a meeting. Hamilton says she was dismissed from the school by a single professor, contrary to Delgado's guidelines for dismissals. She accuses the community college of a breach of contract and unfair trade practices.

Hamilton seeks an unspecified amount of money for damages, tuition reimbursement and attorneys fees. She is represented by attorneys Anthony D. Irpino and K. Adam Avin of New Orleans.

Orleans Parish District Court case No. 10-9779

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