Teacher claims fear of children in discrimination lawsuit

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, January 14, 2013 9:47 EDT
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A classroom. Photo: Shutterstock.com.
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A French and Spanish teacher in Mariemont, Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against the local school district alleging that they assigned her to work around young children in order to force her resignation, over what she claimed to be an extreme phobia of young children.

Maria C. Waltherr-Willard has worked for the district for 35 years, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer, but she was recently reassigned from her high school to a middle school, which has aggravated her condition.

The suit claims that Waltherr-Willard has “pedophobia,” a debilitating state that induces severe anxiety, chest pains, vomiting, high blood pressure and even nightmares when she’s exposed to children.

“It’s a tough phobia,” the University of Cincinnati’s Dr. Caleb Adler told the Enquirer. “You can’t really get away from (children) when you’re outside. When you’re a teacher, it may not be an issue with older students.”

The suit reportedly also claims she had a prior agreement with the school to work exclusively with teens and up. A judge, however, has dismissed three of her primary claims, although three more await a response from the district.

For its part, the district reportedly moved her because the high school level French class was being eliminated and offered online.

Photo: Shutterstock.com.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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