Professor Tells Stuttering Student Not to Speak in Class


October 12, 2011
by Suada Kolovic
For years, educators have stressed the importance of asking questions and participating in classroom discussions, insisting that education is a dialog between student and teacher. But what if your professor personally insisted that you keep quiet during class? For one student at a New Jersey community college, that was just the case.

For years, educators have stressed the importance of asking questions and participating in classroom discussions, insisting that education is a dialog between student and teacher. But what if your professor personally insisted that you keep quiet during class? For one student at a New Jersey community college, that was just the case.

Philip Garber Jr., a 16-year-old who is taking two classes at the County College of Morris, has a profound stutter that makes talking difficult – and talking quickly impossible. According to the Star-Leger, after the first few class sessions in which Garber actively participated, he received an unusual email from his instructor: The professor, an adjunct named Elizabeth Snyder, requested that he pose his questions before or after class, “so that we do not infringe on the other students’ time.” As for the questions she asks during class, Ms. Snyder suggested, “I believe it would be better for everyone if you kept a sheet of paper on your desk and wrote down the answers.”

Determined to resolve the issue, Garber reported the situation to a college dean, who suggested he transfer to another teacher’s class, where he has been asking and answering questions again. The college wouldn’t say if any disciplinary action was taken against Snyder. (For more on the story click here.)

Do you think Garber was unfairly discriminated against because of his stutter? Do you think Ms. Snyder’s request was out of line?

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c woodruff  on  12/26/2015 6:06:41 PM commented:

This is just shameful! As an educator, I understand the importance of utilizing time wisely during the class period so that the information is conveyed in a timely manner (time does fly while teaching),, but I would never ask any of my students to not ask questions during class in lieu of a disability!! This matter should definitely be addressed with the proper administrators!

Raveen S  on  10/15/2015 10:38:40 PM commented:

That professor is unfit to teach students if he doesn't understand a small disability. This has me outraged how insignificant the school takes the is issue. Stuttering is something you can't help and the professor was being very rude and inconsiderate. If it was up to me I will have him fired.

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