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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20227
Experience:  Licensed Atty, 29 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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ADA, Clinical depression, academic dismissal

Resolved Question:

Is clinical depression covered under ADA. My daughter was academically dismissed from Middlebury college due to poor performance during an extended period of severe depression. She was dismissed in June of 2009 and readmitted for the fall during which time she was on probation. She was subsequently dismissed again in June 2010 after failing a class, violating the prohibition on failing a class while on probation. She has been treated for bi polar disorder II and is currently on medication and undergoing regular therapy. She applied for readmission and was denied because the school doesn't recognize "retroactive" depression as an extenuating circumstance. The college contends that it has only made a few exceptions to its policy, including the case of a student who lost one parent after another. I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction re: case law on this matter.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.

Clinical depression and bipolar disorder can indeed be considered a disability under the ADA. The key though is whether the condition that substantially limits a major life activity. The Act does include transitory conditions as well that while they are active limits a major life activity. As long as the institution is not a wholly private institution that does not receive any funds whatsoever, including student loan money, from the Federal Government, then they come under the law.

If you would like to learn more about your daughter's rights and the law you can go to the website for the Department of Education,Office of Civil Rights and their discussion of the ADA at:

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
did you get my follow up question?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
No, I am sorry, I didn't. Can you please send it again?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I wondered if you could point me in the right direction relative to next steps, e.g. finding a lawyer specializing in ada and/or education law, etc. Thanks so much for any help you can provide
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the follow up. First, I would recommend that your daughter familiarize herself with the information I referred you to. Then, if she still believes that her rights were violated, then if she seeks out an attorney that specializes in educational law post-secondary in particular, then she will be best off.

You can contact the Vermont Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service and can find more information about that at: