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Teacher said she was fired for refusing to abide by 'no zeroes' grading policy

A Florida teacher claims she was fired for refusing to give students half credit for not turning in work. (Image source: WPTV video screenshot)

When veteran teacher Diane Tirado read in her school's student and parent handbook that students should earn 50 percent credit even when they don't do any work, she immediately rejected the policy.

Now, she believes her defiance cost her a job at the West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Florida, WPTV reported.

“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.

What's the story?

Tirado began working at West Gate school this year teaching eighth-grade U.S. history. One of her first assignments was an "explorer notebook" project that students had two weeks to complete, but several of them did not turn it in.

In Tirado's mind, doing zero work should result in getting zero credit, but she found out quickly that not everyone felt that way, reading in a handbook that the lowest possible grade for any assignment, even ones that are not turned in, is 50 percent.

“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.”

Was that really why she was fired?

The school didn't specify the reason Tirado was fired after just one month on the job, and her termination letter didn't have to be specific because she was still in a probationary period.

The school district's public information officer issued a statement that explains that while 50-59 percent is the range for an F, zeroes can be given for unattempted or incomplete work.

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

"A zero is noted on the scale for work not attempted or work that is incomplete," the statement read.

Tirado, however, has a different view of what happened, and said she was specifically instructed to never give a child a zero — a policy she refused to abide by.

"The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous," Tirado wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. "Teaching should not be this hard. Teachers teach content, children do the assignments to the best of their ability and teachers grade that work based on a grading scale that has been around a very long time."

(H/T USA Today)

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