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  #41  
Old 16 January 2013, 10:33 PM
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I don't see anything that contradicts the OP article. Can you be more specific?
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  #42  
Old 16 January 2013, 11:39 PM
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From Sue's article (not necessarily contradictions)
Quote:
District Judge Herman J. Weber said the district lived up to its written contract -- with the teachers union -- and that Waltherr-Willard would still be employed had she not resigned.
Quote:
In 1997 the district asked her to teach a Spanish enrichment class to fourth- through sixth-graders, but she and her attorney at the time, Alphonse Gerhardstein, objected to it, claiming medical reasons. The district accommodated her, agreeing to keep her at the high school.

She began having trouble in 2009, when she discussed with parents the likelihood that the district would eliminate teacher-led French courses at the high school.
She's been accommodated once. If the district eliminated the program she taught under, that was their prerogative. And we have only her opinion that the reason she was transferred was her discussions with the parents and not the elimination of the program.
Quote:
Imhoff responded in writing that there was no open position but he'd keep her request on file.
Employers are not required to create positions in order to accommodate a disability. I don't see anything in here promising (in an enforceable manner) that she would be able to remain at the high school.

Seaboe
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  #43  
Old 16 January 2013, 11:43 PM
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Where does it say they eliminated her program? In the OP article it says they were contemplating it, and parents complained. It doesn't say whether they actually eliminated it or not. This article says about the same, as far as I can see.

Having accommodated her in the past certainly doesn't mean that they don't have to continue to do so.
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  #44  
Old 16 January 2013, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Having accommodated her in the past certainly doesn't mean that they don't have to continue to do so.
No, it does not. It also doesn't mean they have to create a position in order to accommodate her. Placing her request on file is not a refusal to accommodate. It's saying they have no current means to accommodate.

Even with this new article, it's a he said/ she said situation. She says she was transferred because she talked to parents. We don't know what the district says--they may say she was transferred because her program was eliminated. ETA: And I didn't make a definitive statement that the program was eliminated, I said if.

Seaboe
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  #45  
Old 17 January 2013, 12:10 AM
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Ahh, I get what the district is saying.

Schools are not under obligation to move you into a desired position if there are no open positions available that you have certification for. You may apply internally to take an open position and have a good chance of getting it, but a 3rd grade teacher can't decide they want to teach 2nd grade and bump another teacher out (even if they don't have tenure).

I would assume they filled their high school teaching slots when she accepted the junior high position in 2010-2011 and no longer have a spot open for her without moving another teacher. It can be done with accommodations, but it can be tricky. I recently experienced this myself where I was asked to move schools to accommodate a teacher who had a medical condition. I declined because there was another teacher who wanted to swap positions and I liked my school and wanted to stay there. It did become a union issue and a bit of drama because admin's at various buildings didn't really want to have to accommodate the teacher, so were trying to pass it off to other schools.
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  #46  
Old 17 January 2013, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I don't see anything that contradicts the OP article. Can you be more specific?
Sorry, I'll do some linking tomorrow (my flu-cold is kicking in again and my head is swimmy). I should have been clearer, the contradictions were with other articles I found that were discussing this so I'll need to find those for you before I can do that. One thing that did stick out though was the article I linked certainly made it sound like the woman in question made an effort to do her job at the junior high (including claiming she had turned the Spanish program around) but other articles made it sound like she was barely there and left them high and dry in the middle of the year. Now she did leave mid-year but both interpretations can't be right. Either she made an honest effort to do her job, and made positive changes or,well, she didn't.
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  #47  
Old 17 January 2013, 01:13 AM
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Certifications vary by state, so I'd be interested to see if hers lists specific grade levels. I've got two 5-9 certifications ("Middle school"), two K-12 certifications, and one 1-6 certification. You can put a teacher in a position that they are not certified for and require them to pursue certification. That's how I acquired my second middle school certification this year. You can also move a teacher to any position for which he/she is certified. I was yanked out of one classroom and put in another without any notice one year because I was certified in the area they needed, and was told by the state teacher's union that this was perfectly legal.
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  #48  
Old 17 January 2013, 01:22 AM
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Checking the Mariemont High School faculty listing,* it's obvious that they did not eliminate their foreign language program. There are faculty in German, Latin, and Spanish listed (and they aren't listed as teaching additional classes).

*You have to click on the teacher and staff directory button in the column on the left--I feel squeamish about linking directly to contact info unless it's really necessary.
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  #49  
Old 17 January 2013, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auntie Witch View Post
You can also move a teacher to any position for which he/she is certified.
Isn't that going to vary with the terms of particular collective bargaining contracts? I'm not sure that it would be categorically true all over. And of course, you can't move someone into a position if the ADA requires otherwise.
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  #50  
Old 17 January 2013, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Isn't that going to vary with the terms of particular collective bargaining contracts? I'm not sure that it would be categorically true all over. And of course, you can't move someone into a position if the ADA requires otherwise.
Every teaching contract I have had says that you agree to be a teacher for the district, not the specific position. I don't know about other states, but in Mo teachers are not required to participate in the unions; it is strongly encouraged, however.
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  #51  
Old 17 January 2013, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Checking the Mariemont High School faculty listing,* it's obvious that they did not eliminate their foreign language program. There are faculty in German, Latin, and Spanish listed (and they aren't listed as teaching additional classes).
The articles I read specifically talked about her teaching French so it does sound like that one did get eliminated then. I am assuming she was moved because of that but I wonder what the administration's reasons were for her not being given Spanish classes in the high school instead. Given the years she was teaching there it seems unlikely (although not impossible of course) that she wouldn't have had seniority to take over from a more junior teacher if that was a possibility.
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  #52  
Old 17 January 2013, 02:07 AM
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One of the articles said she taught French and Spanish. And given the ADA claim, she would have priority even if she would have been lower in seniority (if that's how they would normally choose), as long as the accommodation was reasonable.

ETA: I see in the article Sue posted that it says they were eliminating "teacher-led French" classes, not teacher-led foreign-language instruction as I thought.

Last edited by erwins; 17 January 2013 at 02:13 AM.
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  #53  
Old 17 January 2013, 02:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
One of the articles said she taught French and Spanish.
But was she teaching Spanish at the time? My impression from the articles I read was that she was not and that the elimination of the "face to face" French classes was why she was reassigned. If that's not actually the case I think that definitely makes her case stronger.

Total Canadian hijack - I find it so odd that a school would eliminate teaching French rather than Spanish or German - something like that just wouldn't (couldn't) happen here.
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  #54  
Old 17 January 2013, 02:22 AM
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The article you posted refers to her as a "longtime high-school French and Spanish teacher," and she was transferred into a Spanish teaching position, so it's not like she couldn't teach Spanish.
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  #55  
Old 17 January 2013, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
The article you posted refers to her as a "longtime high-school French and Spanish teacher," and she was transferred into a Spanish teaching position, so it's not like she couldn't teach Spanish.
Yes, that's not the point I was making. We only know that she was teaching French at the time the decision was taken to eliminate the program as it existed. We do not know if she was teaching any Spanish classes at the time. Assuming she was not was the school under any obligation to take classes away from a teacher who was teaching Spanish in order to accomodate her? If they were, she has a stronger case, if they weren't, well not so much. And her case is even stronger IMO if she actually had been teaching a Spanish class prior to being moved to the junior high school.

Last edited by Sue; 17 January 2013 at 02:35 AM.
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  #56  
Old 17 January 2013, 02:54 AM
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I don't think most people would say that she has no ADA claim, just that the circumstances of being moved to a different position in this manner are not as unusual as some of you seem to think it is. The contract AW describes is more the rule than the exception. It has certainly been the case in every district that I've encountered. That doesn't mean that once the situation occurred this teacher didn't have the right to make an official claim for accommodation. But in most public school districts the possibility of being move is usually there, something even this teacher recognized. That is why she got assurances she wouldn't be moved. Her mistake was naively assuming that their word was good enough.

What occurs in other fields (like the legal profession) doesn't really have much relevance to this discussion. Different professions have different standards. You might not think it makes sense for districts to operate in that manner, but that doesn't change the fact that most of them do.
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  #57  
Old 17 January 2013, 03:40 AM
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Okay...if she genuinely has this phobia, I'm sorry for her, however...

....why on earth did she choose a career that had a higher likelihood than most of her being exposed to young children? She may have been assured of getting high school positions, but as several here have pointed out--things beyond the control of all parties can happen. Such as the restructuring of the curriculum, as is what's going on.

I'm also thinking the 'junior high and younger' phobia...okay, in all her years of teaching, was she 'lucky' enough to never have a younger, gifted child in any of her classes? To use a famous example--Weird Al Yankovic, who started kindergarten early and skipped a grade, so would have entered high school at 12, instead of 14. What would she have done if he'd shown up in one of her classes? Refuse to teach him because of her phobia?

I'm sorry for her if she really does have this phobia, but in light of that, becoming a teacher strikes me as a really dicey career move, even if you do think you'll only ever teach high school.

Magdalene
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  #58  
Old 17 January 2013, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
But was she teaching Spanish at the time? My impression from the articles I read was that she was not and that the elimination of the "face to face" French classes was why she was reassigned. If that's not actually the case I think that definitely makes her case stronger.

Total Canadian hijack - I find it so odd that a school would eliminate teaching French rather than Spanish or German - something like that just wouldn't (couldn't) happen here.
Mariemont looks pretty close to Cincinnati, which has strong German roots. And Spanish is pretty much the second most-spoken language in the U.S. now. So for that particular region, eliminating French might've made most sense.

Magdalene
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  #59  
Old 17 January 2013, 03:47 AM
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One of the challenges of accommodation is that if there is a position, many times it is already occupied by someone. My initial feeling (and I have nothing to back this up) is that there are desirable positions in the high school, but that these positions are occupied.

I'm wondering if this teacher wants to have one of the teachers in the programme at high school switch positions with her. This may be her wish on reasonable accommodation. However, my understanding of accommodation is that when enacted, it is not supposed to inconvenience others as a matter of course.
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  #60  
Old 17 January 2013, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
The article you posted refers to her as a "longtime high-school French and Spanish teacher," and she was transferred into a Spanish teaching position, so it's not like she couldn't teach Spanish.
So what? If there was not a position available, the district has no obligation to create one for her.

Accommodation has to be reasonable. You can't just say "this is what I want" and then quit and sue if you don't get what you want. Or at least, you can't count on doing it successfully.

The trouble with both articles posted is that they are biased. They give her side of the story, toss in a few remarks by the judge, and that's it. There is nothing concerning the district's side of the issue. What I am saying (and have been saying all along) is that WE DON'T KNOW whether what the district did constitutes discrimination, and we shouldn't assume it does.

ETA: re the career thing, while I still have limited sympathy, it does seem that this issue only arose after she'd been teaching for a number of years, so when she selected her career it wasn't a problem.

Seaboe
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