Teacher allegedly fired for refusing to abide by 'No zero' policy when students didn't hand in work

- A teacher from St. Lucie County says that she lost her job after refusing to give students a 50% grade for assignments they don't turn in.

Diane Tirado assigned her eighth-grade History class an 'Explorer Notebook' project. They were given several weeks to complete the assignment. But when several students didn't turn it in, Tirado found out about the school's 'No-Zero Policy' reflected in the Student and Parent Handbook. This says that teachers will give students a 50% if they do not turn anything in. 

Tirado spoke on the policy saying "What if they don't turn anything in? We give them a 50. Oh, we don't. This is not kosher."

Tirado was terminated on September 14th, but there is no cause of mention in the letter from the principal since she was still in her probationary period. Despite what is in the handbook, the St. Lucie County School District says that there is no district or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work that is not turned in. 

Tirado left this note to her eighth-graders on her whiteboard on her last day, explaining why she has been fired. She says that she refused to give students a 50% grade for assignments they don't turn in. The note was sent out on Facebook and a class app as well. 

Bye kids.

Mrs. 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. 

[heart emoji] Mrs. Tirado.

Tirado hopes that this policy changes. She says that "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."

Wayne Gent, the Superintendent of St. Lucie County Schools, believes though that the policy is"a fair system that actually rewards what they've done and that they're given other opportunities to be successful at it instead of leaving them behind." 

Gent says that he believes high achieving students benefit from strict grades, but for struggling students, giving them a zero won't do much to motivate them because it pushes them down, instead of guiding them back up. He says that "we're not making it easy for students. it's holding them accountable. It's rigor. It's hard work. We want to make it more difficult to fail then easier to succeed."

Diane Tirado's termination letter did not include a clear reason for why she was fired, but the superintendent now says it was because of "performance issues and complaints from students and parents."


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