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Chiropractic School Must Accommodate Blind Students

Michael Dorausch
Lumbar spine with right (R) x-ray marker.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Davenport’s Palmer College of Chiropractic discriminated against a blind student when the school did not provide accommodations for his disability.

A few years before Aaron Cannon entered Palmer’s graduate program, the school started requiring students to read and interpret X-rays, to meet industry standards.

Cannon told the school he could complete the course work with the assistance of a sighted aid. Palmer said this wouldn’t suffice since the aid would be interpreting X-rays by describing photos to Cannon. 

In court, the student and the Davenport Civil Rights Commission argued that two blind students who graduated from Palmer’s Davenport campus are currently licensed and successfully practicing. 

Cannon also pointed out Iowa's licensing board doesn’t require sight or interpretation of X-rays for chiropractors.

The school claimed accommodating Cannon would compromise the integrity of Palmer’s academic program.

But in a 5-2 ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court said Palmer did not try hard enough to accommodate Cannon’s specific needs.