Maria Waltherr-Willard was a high school French and Spanish teacher in Cincinnati for approximately 35 years. In 2009 her school district eliminated the French program, so Waltherr-Willard was transferred to their middle school to teach Spanish. All would be well if Waltherr-Willard didn’t have a phobia of young children. Now that she was dealing with middle school children rather than high school children, her anxiety caused her blood pressure to soar, and she was forced to retire early for health reasons. Waltherr-Willard now has a lawsuit in the works for discrimination based on age, sex, and her disability.
I don’t know where to begin, but let’s start with the obvious: why was this woman a teacher if she had a paralyzing fear of young children? If she had such a passion to teach but couldn’t be around children, why not teach college level students or adult education classes? I would guess it’s because she wanted the salary of a state-employed public school teacher, the benefits of a state-employed public school teacher, and oh yeah, that retirement state-employed public school teachers receive, which she is currently collecting. And before anyone argues “teachers are underpaid”, this article stated her annual salary was about $80k/year.
I also want Waltherr-Willard to explain her definition of “young” children to me, because I feel as if I am missing a piece to this puzzle. She suffered little or no anxiety teaching 9th grade (high school) students, but teaching 8th grade (middle school) students put her health in danger? Aren’t 9th graders simply children who were 8th graders three months earlier?
People argued against the school, citing age discrimination. Waltherr-Willard’s case stated the school eliminated her high school program in order to “squeeze her out of her job”. I don’t know whether this is true, but I do know they offered her another job in her field. I don’t know if this woman has ever encountered a job outside of the education system, but here is how it typically works: “your position has been eliminated, you’re getting laid off, here’s the number for the unemployment office”. And here is a newsflash for Waltherr-Willard: states are cutting education funds like crazy. Be glad you were offered another job, you spoiled, out-of-touch fool.
This story is unsettling mainly due to the fact it’s another wasteful litigious avenue for people to take when things don’t go their way. Classify her phobia under the Americans with Disabilities Act, wait for the employer to take one step out of bounds, and then sue the living hell out of them. The ADA should be protecting people, not helping people to collect $100k lawsuits because they didn’t “like” the job offered to them when the employer had to, in effect, downsize. Where is this woman’s sense of personal responsibility? Where was her common sense when she decided to work with children?
Now that I think of it, since this woman’s litigious stupidity makes MY blood pressure rise to astronomical levels, can I sue Waltherr-Willard for threatening my well-being? Better yet, I should sue her for the carpal tunnel syndrome I am undoubtedly going to suffer after repeatedly typing “Waltherr-Willard “.