Teacher fired for refusing school’s ‘no zeroes’ policy

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A Florida teacher was fired for refusing to give students a 50% grade without turning in their assignments.

Diane Tirado taught eighth grade U.S. History at West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Florida. 

She assigned a project to students and gave them two weeks to complete it. When several students didn’t turn it in, Tirado found out about the school’s “no zero” policy, which is listed in the West Gate student and parent handbook. Below the grading rubric, in red lettering, the handbook states “NO ZEROS- LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%”

“What if they don’t turn anything in?” Tirado said she asked administrators, according to WPTV. “‘We give them a 50.’ I go, ‘Oh, we don’t.’ This is not kosher.'”

Tirado was fired on September 14th, although her termination letter from the principal did not list a cause because she was still in her probationary period, according to the letter.

She wrote a goodbye message on her whiteboard saying, “Bye Kids, Ms. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in.”

“I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real,” Tirado said.

Kerry Padrick, the chief information officer for the school, sent out the following statement:

“Diane Tirado was employed as a teacher for St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) from July 30, 2018 to September 14, 2018.  She was contracted as a teacher on probationary status, and was terminated shortly after one month of classroom instruction.

SLPS values the importance of maintaining a high-quality teaching staff who support students’ individualized learning needs; who understand the value of forming appropriate and positive relationships with students, colleagues, and parents; and who provide accurate and productive feedback to students on assignments. Wavering on the expectations of quality is not an option.

There is no District or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in. The District’s Uniform Grading System utilizes letter grades A-F, numerical grades 100-0 and grade point averages from 4-0.”

When asked specifically about the wording of “no zeros” on the West Gate student and parent handbook, Padrick said:

“Some classroom teachers and school faculties have discussed the range of points for work submitted in each grading category. 

This scale outlines a 10-point range for each letter grade: 
A = 90 to 100
B = 80 to 89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69 
F = 50=59

A zero is noted on the scale for work not attempted or work that is incomplete.”

“I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real,” Tirado said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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