When she was thrown out of nursing school just 13 weeks before graduating, Sara Castle was humiliated.
Still, she knew she and her classmates weren’t getting the clinical training they needed because an instructor repeatedly dismissed students early — a practice Castle exposed, and the teacher was fired.
But Castle, too, was a casualty as Appalachian Technical College expelled her for, she asserts, blowing the whistle.
This week a jury awarded Castle $450,000 for the ordeal. The 55-year-old never finished her degree.
Castle said she and other students would arrive for clinical training early in the morning. By 8 a.m., the instructor would dismiss students.
A total of 740 hours of hands-on training is required for the degree, and Castle said meeting that requirement would be impossible based on the instructor’s actions.
When she did, the college fired the instructor. Then, Castle was expelled. That was in August 2007. The following month, she filed a lawsuit.
After two days of testimony, it took the jury less than an hour to rule in Castle’s favor, Satcher said. She was awarded $400,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 for emotional injuries.
The state Attorney General’s office represented the college.
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