Teacher With Fear Of Kids Sues For Damages

Teacher With Fear Of Kids Sues For Damages

A former high school teacher has sued the school district where she used to work, saying administrators discriminated against her because she has a fear of young children.

Maria Waltherr-Willard, 61, had been teaching Spanish and French at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati since 1976.

The retired educator, who does not have children of her own, said when she was transferred to the district's middle school in 2009, the seventh and eighth-graders triggered her phobia.

The fear caused her blood pressure to soar, forcing her to retire in the middle of the 2010 school year, she claims.

In her lawsuit, Ms Waltherr-Willard said her fear of young children falls under the federal American with Disabilities Act - and the district violated it by transferring her in the first place and then refusing to allow her to return to the high school.

Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Gary Winters, the school district's attorney, said Ms Waltherr-Willard had been transferred because the French programme at the high school was being turned into an online one and the middle school needed a Spanish teacher.

"She wants money," Mr Winters said of Ms Walter-Willard's motivation to sue.

"Let's keep in mind that our goal here is to provide the best teachers for students and the best academic experience for students, which certainly wasn't accomplished by her walking out on them in the middle of the year."

Ms Waltherr-Willard and her attorney, Brad Weber, did not return calls for comment on Tuesday.

The lawsuit states Ms Waltherr-Willard has been treated for her phobia since 1991 and also suffers from general anxiety disorder, high blood pressure and a gastrointestinal illness.

She was managing her conditions well until the transfer, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Ms Waltherr-Willard has lost out on at least \$100,000 (£62,000) of potential income as a result of her retirement.