Teacher Claims School Pushed Her to Retire Over Medical Condition: Fear of Young Children

A retired language teacher in Ohio is suing her former school for discrimination, alleging she was forced to resign over her debilitating fear of young children.

61-year-old Maria C. Waltherr-Willard claims in her lawsuit that her "pedophobia" causes her to experience a series of symptoms, including stress, anxiety, chest pains, and vomiting, when in the vicinity of children.

She says the Mariemont school district was understanding in the past, allowing her to keep her teaching position at the high school level after she asked not to be transferred to the elementary school level.

But Waltherr-Willard alleges that the district's attitude changed after she took a stand in 2009 against the elimination of face-to-face French classes, which were being replaced with an online course.

Both the Superintendent and the high school's principal admonished Waltherr-Willard, per court documents, and warned her to stop telling parents about the change or risk losing her job.

The district subsequently assigned Waltherr-Willard to teach Spanish to junior high students against her wishes.

She claims the move caused her blood pressure to become dangerously elevated, and ultimately forced her to resign in 2011.

Three of Waltherr-Willard's accusations were dismissed by a federal judge who ruled that her contract had not been violated. The three remaining claims are currently awaiting district response, and the tentative trial date has been set for February 2014.

[photo via Shutterstock]