Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not from the Onion.

Teacher with fear of young kids sues school district.

According to the article:

A former teacher is suing the U.S. 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.
It seems ridiculous, but four questions:

1.  Is there really such a phobia?

2.   Did Waltherr-Willard have this phobia?

3.   Was the school district aware of her diagnosis with this phobia?

3.  Could the district have reasonably accommodated her phobia by sending her back to her old school?

If so, why couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't it have done so?

Yes, the story seems facially ridiculous - a teacher afraid of "small children"? - but life is strange and the policy of the ADA is to accommodate life's strangeness where it is possible/not disproportionate to do so.

1 comment:

Lauran said...


Who links to me?