Professor tells stuttering student not to speak

Philip Garber Jr., a 16-year-old student at a New Jersey community college who stutters, said he was told not to speak in class. WCBS-TV

RANDOLPH, N.J. - A student at a New Jersey community college who stutters said he was told not to speak in his class, CBS News station WCBS-TV reports.

Philip Garber Jr., who has been taking classes at the County College of Morris, said the incident made him feel like "stuttering is something to laugh at and that it's not something to take seriously."

The outspoken 16-year-old has been taking the classes to overcome his stuttering. He said an adjunct professor in a history course told him not to ask questions during class to prevent disrupting the other students.

"The first feeling was just shock," Garber, an aspiring photojournalist, told WCBS-TV.

Garber said he was even more shocked when the adjunct professor told him to write out his questions before and after class. That's when the college administration got involved and moved him to a similar course, where he felt more comfortable.

"He was in fact discriminated against in this class -- that is other students were not asked to make the same accommodation," college President Edward Yaw told WCBS-TV. "So that is something we take seriously."

(Watch at left)

Garber has had a stutter all of his life. He has been home-schooled and has gotten speech therapy.

"I have never experienced this level of discrimination," he told WCBS-TV.

The adjunct professor was unable to be reached for comment, but many students who are not in the class support the 16-year-old.

"He paid for his tuition like everybody else did, and it's not fair that he's not allowed to speak in class," student Henny Harmon told WCBS-TV.

The college wouldn't say if any action was taken against the adjunct professor because officials said they don't discuss personnel matters.

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