Mariemont, Ohio (CBS CLEVELAND) – A 35-year veteran high school teacher is suing her school district for discrimination against her disability – she has a phobia against children.
Cincinnati.com reports that Mariemont teacher Maria C. Waltherr-Willar, 61, alleges the administration reassigned her to the junior high school from the high school, and then pressured her to resign due to her “pedophobia” – an extreme fear or anxiety experienced around young children.
The lawsuit claims the discrimination is directly tied to her age and her affliction with pedophobia.
Court documents from her medical doctor, psychiatrists and psychologists describe Waltherr-Willar’s feelings of stress, anxiety, chest pains, vomiting, nightmares and higher blood pressure when she’s in the presence of kids.
Medicine Net defines “pedophobia” as: “An abnormal and persistent fear of babies and children. Sufferers experience anxiety even though they realize their fear is groundless. Rearing a child or being around active children can both produce anxiety.”
On Wednesday, a federal judge dismissed three of six claims in Waltherr-Willar’s lawsuit against the Mariemont district. She claims the administration violated an “implied contract” to keep her away from younger students.
District Judge Herman J. Weber told Cincinnati.com that the district fulfilled its side of the written contract it made with the teachers union. He also stated that Waltherr-Willard would still be employed had she not resigned.
Phobia experts said the condition is rare, but is recognized as an official anxiety disorder in the psychiatry community.
“It’s a tough phobia. You can’t really get away from (children) when you’re outside,” Dr. Caleb Adler, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati, told Cincinnati.com.
The term pedophobia can also be used to define a fear of dolls, a distaste for children or, in the case of parents, an obsession with one’s own children.