A Florida teacher claims she was fired for refusing to give half credit to students who didn’t turn in their assignments. According to West Gate K-8 School’s student handbook, the school has a “no zero” policy which prevents teachers like Diane Tirado from giving a grade below 50 percent.
“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,” the former eighth-grade U.S. history teacher wrote on the whiteboard on September 14, her last day.
Because Tirado was in her first year of teaching (a probationary period) at West Gate, there was no official reason listed on her termination notice. However, the 52-year-old says it was because she didn’t follow the school’s policy which reads, “NO ZEROS- LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%.”
Tirado, who found out about the rule after she gave zeros to several students who didn’t turn in a notebook explorer assignment, disagrees with the policy. She believes grades should be earned, explaining to WPTV, “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.”
In a follow-up Facebook post, Tirado said, “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. Teachers also provide numerous attempts to get the work collected so they can give a child a grade.”
However, a spokesperson from the school district told WPTV that “there is no District or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in.” And in a statement to KSAT, they said that Tirado was let go for “sub-standard” performance and interactions with students and parents that “lacked professionalism and created a toxic culture.”