A school teacher has sparked outrage online after claiming she was fired by her school for refusing to give her students a minimum 50 per cent mark – despite them never handing in their homework.
Florida social studies teacher Diane Tirado, 52, claimed West Gate K-8 School in Port St Lucie, where she was previously working, has a ‘no zero’ marking policy – meaning teachers have to give a minimum mark of 50 per cent to all students, no matter what their work is like.
According to the New York Post, she asked her class to keep a journal in the words of a 15th century explorer for two weeks – almost like an “explorer’s notebook”.
When some of her students failed to hand in the assignment, with a few of their parents apparently claiming it had been too much work, she marked them with zero – going against the school’s alleged policy.
“I’m used to kids not handing in work… but then chasing them until the report cards are in to make sure they make it up,” she told the news outlet. “But I don’t give a grade for nothing.”
She was reportedly fired by the school on September 14, less than two months after starting the job and still within her probationary period. The cause for sacking her was not listed on the letter from the principal, with them instead claiming it was to do with her probation.
However, she has insisted it was down to her actions over the failed assignments. Revealing her anger at the situation, Diane shared a photo of her goodbye message she left for her students on a whiteboard in the classroom on Facebook – and it’s since gone viral.
The message read: “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.”
It got an angry response from other Facebook users, with one writing: “And that right there is why I chose to bring my daughter back to Wisconsin to educate her….god knows she wasn’t gonna get schooled down there!!!”
While one added: “Wow!!! This is crazy!!” And one wrote: “That is beyond ridiculous!! Good for you for standing up for what you believe in.”
Seeing the responses, Diane said she had chosen to speak out to inspire change, writing: “I am reading all the posts you have written and reflecting upon them. The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous. 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. By nature, most teachers are loving souls who want to see students succeed.
“We do above and beyond actual teaching to give them the support they need. Are we perfect? NO. We make mistakes like all other human beings, but I know teachers work their butts off to help children to be the best people they can be!”
A spokesman for the school has since denied they have a ‘no zero’ policy and told WPTV: “There is no district or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in.”
However, Diana insisted to the Post that the Student and Parent Handbook says: “NO ZERO’s (sic) — LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%,” in bold red letters.