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Teacher With Fear of Children Fighting Forced Retirement

Maria C. Waltherr-Willard

Language teacher Maria C. Waltherr-Willard suffers from pedophobia, which means she is afraid of young children. When the 61-year-old is in the presence of the little tykes she experiences symptoms which include anxiety, chest pains and vomiting.

Given her unusual affliction, her Cincinnati, Ohio, school district assigned her to high school, because older children don’t engender such extreme reactions. Everything was going great until 2009 when Waltherr-Willard started to complain about the district’s plans to replace their face-to-face French classes with an online course. According to Waltherr-Willard, the district punished her questioning by assigning her to teach junior high school, where her pedophobia kicked in.

Due to the stress of being surrounded by young faces, her blood pressure became dangerously elevated and she was forced to retire.

Now she is suing the Mariemont School District for discriminating against her based on age, gender and her phobia.

So far a Federal judge has thrown out three of Wlatherr-Willard’s accusation, and will hear another three in 2014.

What do you think? Does Waltherr-Willard have a point, assuming a judge finds that the school district was being punitive when they forced her into a class with 11-year-olds? Or do you think her decision to become a teacher would be the same as somebody with a crippling fear of dogs becoming a vet?

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