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Teacher claims discrimination over her fear of kids


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#1 jnelsoninjax

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 16:38

MARIEMONT — A longtime French and Spanish high school teacher is suing the Mariemont school district, alleging it discriminated against her because she has a disability – she has a phobia of young children.

Maria C. Waltherr-Willard, 61, of Greenhills says the district in which she worked for 35 years discriminated against her when it reassigned her in 2010 from its high school to its junior high and then pressured her to resign.

The suit claims the discrimination is based on her age and her disability, a rare phobia called pedophobia, which in this context means an extreme fear or anxiety around young children.

Waltherr-Willard’s lawsuit claims she has suffered from the condition since the 1990s and that Mariemont had made assurances to her and her lawyer that she would not have to teach young children.

Documents filed in the case by her medical doctor, psychiatrists and psychologists note that she experiences stress, anxiety, chest pains, vomiting, nightmares and higher than healthy blood pressure when she’s around young children.

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed three of the six claims in her lawsuit, claims which alleged Mariemont violated an implied contract to keep her from young students.

District Judge Herman J. Weber said the district lived up to its written contract – with the teachers union – and that Waltherr-Willard would still be employed had she not resigned.

He did not rule on the other main allegations of the suit, giving the district’s attorneys more time to respond to them. If the case goes to trial, it’s scheduled for February 2014, according to court documents.
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#2 McKay

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 16:41

They knew she had that phobia when she signed up, why would they then make her then teach small children?

#3 shakey

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 17:49

They knew she had that phobia when she signed up, why would they then make her then teach small children?


She knew she had a phobia when she chose her career path. She made the mistake. It's like me studying be to a surgeon, but then having a phobia of blood. The only person who is at fault is the one who chose a career that basically has her phobia in it. I wouldn't become a circus performer if I was scared of clowns.

#4 tiagosilva29

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 17:58

She knew she had a phobia when she chose her career path.

According to the article, she didn't.

Timeline: [Teaching high school][Pedophobia appeared, but it's okay, because she is not dealing with young children][Informs district, implied contract][More teaching high school][District reassigns her into teaching junior high; effectively forcing her to resign]

#5 TheLegendOfMart

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:00

Um phobias arent disabilities.

#6 shakey

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:05

According to the article, she didn't.


So she claims. I really doubt she didn't know she was affraid of kids. Most phobias show up in childhood or adolescence.

Again though, if it's her career, she needs to either learn how to deal with it, or find another. You don't put yourself in something you can't handle. It's not the schools fault she can't do what 99% of the other people in the career can. Sometimes, in real life, you just can't and shouldn't be doing what it is you want.

#7 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:07

She knew she had a phobia when she chose her career path. She made the mistake. It's like me studying be to a surgeon, but then having a phobia of blood. The only person who is at fault is the one who chose a career that basically has her phobia in it. I wouldn't become a circus performer if I was scared of clowns.


That's a bad comparison.

Teachers don't have to teach young children, but all surgeons have to deal with blood. You can choose which kind of school you want to work in.

As long as she was open with her employer when she became aware of her phobia, I think she has a case here. I'm sure they could have re-assigned another teacher to the junior school.

#8 McKay

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:08

So she claims. I really doubt she didn't know she was affraid of kids. Most phobias show up in childhood or adolescence.

Again though, if it's her career, she needs to either learn how to deal with it, or find another. You don't put yourself in something you can't handle. It's not the schools fault she can't do what 99% of the other people in the career can. Sometimes, in real life, you just can't and shouldn't be doing what it is you want.


In fairness she was promised that she would never have to teach small children. Phobias are disabilities that you have to work around. If you hire a guy in a Wheelchair, you don't suddenly move him to a floor with no wheelchair access. At work I have a "Climbing at Heights" qualification, I can legally refuse to make any climb. (then again so can anyone)

#9 Anibal P

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:08

Junior High School is not small children but teens, had they forced her to teach at an elementary school she might have a case

#10 shakey

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:19

In fairness she was promised that she would never have to teach small children. Phobias are disabilities that you have to work around. If you hire a guy in a Wheelchair, you don't suddenly move him to a floor with no wheelchair access. At work I have a "Climbing at Heights" qualification, I can legally refuse to make any climb. (then again so can anyone)


being handicapped is a lot different from a phobia. Someone in a wheelchair can do most jobs, but you wouldn't say if the wheelchair guy wanted to be a tower repairman and became handicapped after getting the job... " This company needs to build a ramp that circles all the towers so he can get up it." No, you would say, " Sorry man, this job is no longer for you. You just can't do it." It's called Life. It's not always fair, and we don't have to try and make everything available to everyone. Sometimes, Life comes along and says, " Hey, you can't do this, deal with it and move on."

#11 sidroc

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:20

That's a bad comparison.

Teachers don't have to teach young children, but all surgeons have to deal with blood. You can choose which kind of school you want to work in.

As long as she was open with her employer when she became aware of her phobia, I think she has a case here. I'm sure they could have re-assigned another teacher to the junior school.


Its like becoming a nurse but hating snot, and then being transferred to a ventilator unit and claiming discrimination Ridiculous.

#12 Hussam Al-tayeb

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:21

Um phobias arent disabilities.

Exactly!

And it looks like she is exploited that every little broken finger nail is considered a disability these days to get some money out of them..

#13 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 18:28

Its like becoming a nurse but hating snot, and then being transferred to a ventilator unit and claiming discrimination Ridiculous.


She was transferred to a different school, not a different department in the same school. She was working at a school with no kids and transferred to a school with kids.

Is it so difficult to grasp the concept of what has happened here?

#14 ozgeek

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:49

To fight phopias, you need to face them.

Phopias are nothing more than a sign that the person has became weak.

For example, if you are afraid of frogs, try holding one, it won't be so bad after a while of "traning".

#15 Charisma

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:52

To fight phopias, you need to face them.

Phopias are nothing more than a sign that the person has became weak.

For example, if you are afraid of frogs, try holding one, it won't be so bad after a while of "traning".

That is not always how it works.

Anyway, it seems that a few people here get it, she was doing fine in her job before they forced her to transfer, and that's kind of ridiculous. It's like saying you shouldn't work at a retail store if you can't lift heavy objects. There are plenty of jobs in retail that require you to lift, but there are also plenty that do not. If you start working as a cashier, and then they force you to do a stocker's job, and you get injured, it is entirely their fault. (I can speak from experience on that one, actually, that wasn't a random example, this happened to me.)