I can’t go back there, says teacher. Those kids scare me!!

Wait…what? I do believe this woman is in the wrong profession.

Former Ohio teacher with fear of young kids sues district

A former high school teacher suing the school district where she used to work is accusing its administrators of discriminating against her because of a rare phobia she says 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.

Waltherr-Willard, who does not have children of her own, said that when she was transferred to the district’s middle school in 2009, the seventh- and eighth-graders triggered her phobia, caused her blood pressure to soar and forced her to retire in the middle of the 2010-2011 school year.

Is she disabled or not? That appears to be the question. It will be interesting to hear more specifics as this case moves forward. One would assume that she taught the ninth-graders at the her high school. If so, then what great difference is there with a seventh or eighth-grader that would trigger her phobia? She has been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder.

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  7 comments for “I can’t go back there, says teacher. Those kids scare me!!

  1. spookyparadigm
    January 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    If this wasn’t phrased as a phobia, but simply “middle school children are terrors in comparison to somewhat more grown-up highschool students” it would entirely map with my experience as a child. Of course, you can’t exactly base a lawsuit over that. I teach college students, including freshmen six months removed from high school. If after a successful career teaching, in the last years before I was retired, I was forced to teach 12 year olds instead, I don’t know about phobia, but anxiety would probably be part of the stew I’d feel.

    • January 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Yes. I can understand that perfectly. But is it a disability that she should be compensated for? We all have our moments when life is a bit too much. That’s not lawsuit fodder. It’s life.

  2. spookyparadigm
    January 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    You’re missing the real story here. As the article continues they are more or less eliminating their French language education, replacing it with an online one. And I certainly don’t know if she was being punished for criticizing this downgrade of the district’s educational capabilities, but it certainly seems plausible.

    Her lawsuit certainly sounds, to a layman like may, like something dubious. But the context of it has some pretty dubious elements to it. Having the administrator say “She wants money” juxtaposed with the section about the school eliminating its French teaching for online instruction, is particularly rich.

    • spookyparadigm
      January 18, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      that should be “to a layman like me,” above

    • January 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      I’ve got to disagree with you. The reason this was posted was because it is a rather unusual story, not to necessarily take a position on either sides claims.

  3. Warren Adams-Ockrassa
    January 18, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    First thought is that twelve-year-olds are less likely, as a group, to have hit puberty in the numbers you typically find among fourteen-year-olds. So a seventh grader will likely be considerably more reminiscent of a very young child than would a ninth grader.

    That said, is there really a phobia of young children?

  4. RDW
    January 19, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    This was local news here. My take was that she believes she was fired out of spite : as punishment. Well, not fired so much as placed into a circumstance that forced her into early retirement against her will. If I had to sit on a jury to render some judgement, I would certainly want to hear all the evidence, but if she were purposefully placed into a situation that forced her into retirement, I might very well have a lot of sympathy. The administrators who transferred her into this new job should be scrutinized. Were they “Messing with her head ” to get rid of her??

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