A former foreign language teacher for the Mariemont school district is suing the district for allegedly discriminating against her phobia of young children. Yes, she is a teacher with a fear of small children. The condition is known as pedophobia and may cause a person to feel terrorized whenever children are in close proximity. According to this teacher, the disorder forced her into an earlier retirement.
In her complaint, the teacher alleged that she informed the district of her condition, and for several years being assigned to high school students accommodated her. However, after she informed parents that the school district planned to eliminate foreign language courses in the classroom and offer them online, the school district allegedly retaliated by transferring her to teach seventh and eighth graders. During that time, her blood pressure increased despite her success with her new students. After the school district denied her request to return to high school, she retired.
To prevail on a claim of disability discrimination based on these facts, the teacher will have to show that the school district refused to accommodate her disability so that she could perform the job. While it appears absurb for a teacher to seek an accommodation for her fear of children, her complaint asserts that the district had accommodated her for years by assigning her to high school students. Additional facts, however, reveal that the district was phasing out foreign languages in high school classrooms. Therefore, the district may assert it could no longer accommodate her disability which may be a defense. The case is set for trial in 2014.
What do you think? Should the ability to work with children be included in all job descriptions for school district teachers? Or is it wrong for the school district to sacrifice an effective high school teacher to prove a point?