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October 26, 2004

Deaf student sues colleges over notes

From: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - Rochester,NY,USA - Oct 26, 2004

Staff and wire reports

(October 26, 2004) — A deaf student who used to live in the Rochester area is suing the Nevada university system, claiming assigned note-takers hurt her chance to get good grades.

Lezlie Ann Button seeks in the civil rights lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to remove from her transcripts low marks from the Community College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The case focuses on federal disability requirements that schools provide reasonable services to help students with disabilities receive the same education as other students.

"I want ... services improved to allow these deaf students to have the better opportunity to excel at their education," Button, who now lives in Cortland, south of Syracuse, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Monday report.

"Deaf students like myself need to watch the interpreter all the time," she said in an interview using an Internet-based text messaging system.

Button, 34, deaf since infancy, lived in the Rochester area in 1999 and 2000, when she attended Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Her lawsuit alleges that several note-takers hired by the schools couldn't keep up, missed classes or quit, and didn't provide a thorough outline for her review.

University system attorneys declined comment. But in response to the lawsuit, the system denied responsibility for Button's failing grades, humiliation and distress.

Button graduated from CCSN with an associate's degree in geographical information systems, but left UNLV after she said the school refused to provide her with a real-time captioning service besides an interpreter. She plans to attend the State University College at Cortland, in the fall.

Includes reporting by staff writer Greg Livadas and The Associated Press.

Copyright 2004 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.