CINCINNATI: A former teacher is suing the US school district where she used to work, saying administrators discriminated against her because she has a rare phobia: A fear of young children. Maria Waltherr-Willard, 61, had been teaching Spanish and French to teenagers in Ohio since 1976. Waltherr-Willard, who does not have children of her own, was transferred to another school with younger students in 2009.
She says the younger students triggered her phobia, caused her blood pressure to soar and forced her to retire. Her lawsuit says her fear of young children falls under the federal American with Disabilities Act and that the district violated it by transferring her and not letting her go back to her former school. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Gary Winters, the school district’s attorney, said Waltherr-Willard was transferred because the French program at her school was being turned into an online one and that the other school needed a Spanish teacher.