If a teacher fears children, they might be best served looking for another profession. However, for Maria Waltherr-Willard, it was a reason to sue.
A judge ruled on Waltherr-Willard’s case this week, siding with the defendants, Mariemont City Schools in Cincinnati. The U.S. District Court had previously reached the same decision, but Thursday’s decision was from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming the previous findings.
Waltherr-Willard charged that the district was in breach of contract when it decided to move her to a middle school, where seventh and eighth-grade students reportedly triggered her phobia. This led to high blood pressure and forced an early retirement during the middle of the 2010-2011 School Year. The lawsuit was seeking unspecified damages.
On the alleged breach of contract, the court said Waltherr-Willard “contended that her correspondence with several unidentified school officials created a contract that required Mariemont to keep her at the high school.”
“But the Mariemont School Board undisputedly never ratified such a contract, which means for our purposes that there was not one,” the ruling stated.
The Inquisitr previously reported on this case in January. At that time, it was noted that Waltherr-Willard began having problems in 2009, when she discussed with parents the likelihood that the district would eliminate teacher-led French courses at the school, instead moving them to the online format.
When parents complained in December, Superintendent Paul Imhoff and high school principal James Renner reprimanded Waltherr-Willard, warning her that if she continued talking to parents about the change, she could risk her job and they would put a memo in her personnel file, according to the Cincinnati News.
By Janaury 2011, Waltherr-Willard had successfully rebuilt Mariemont Junior High’s Spanish program, but her blood pressure was often at dangerous levels. She requested, in writing, to return to high school teaching. Imhoff responded in writing that there was no open position, but he’d keep her request on file. Waltherr-Willard retired in March 2011, and in July she filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint. The commission dismissed her complaint a year later, giving her the right to sue the district, which she did in June.
Unfortunately for Waltherr-Willard, the right to sue guarantees nothing, and that’s what she walked away with after this week’s ruling.
But what do you think, readers? Could the district have been more accommodating for the teacher who fears children, or were they justified in the terms that led to her early retirement?
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]