Teacher fired after challenging school's 'no zero' grading policy

A teacher claims she was fired from her job for refusing to give students 50 out of 100 when they failed to submit an assignment.

Diane Tirado, a teacher at West Gate K-8 School in Florida, was fired on September 14, over what she claims is a school policy not to give students grades of less than 50 per cent, ABC 7 reports.

Mrs Tirado, who teaches eighth grade history, assigned students a project which they had two weeks to complete.

But when several students didn’t turn the assignment in she claims she discovered a “zero policy” in the student and parent handbook, which is available on the school’s website. It’s a policy the school has refuted is in place.

Diane Tirado, a teacher in Florida, was fired over a school policy not to give students grades of less than 50 per cent for not handing in assignments. Source: Facebook/ Diane Tirado

The handbook shows the school’s grading system – A to F.

Fifty to 59 per cent is considered an F or a failure, and in red text below it reads “No zero’s – lowest possible grade is 50 per cent”.

The teacher also claims school administrators told her not to give lower than 50.

Mrs Tirado claims she asked administrators, “What if they don’t turn anything in? We can’t give them a 50”.

“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,” Mrs Tirado said.

The teacher claims the school has a policy not to hand out any grades below 50 per cent as illustrated in what’s purportedly the student and parent handbook. Source: West Gate K-8 School

The teacher shared a picture to her Facebook account of a message written for her students.

“Bye kids.

“Mrs Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50 per cent for not handing anything in.

“Love, Mrs Tirado.”

That post was shared more than 900 times with many showing support for her.

Mrs Tirado left a message on a whiteboard for her students claiming she was fired for refusing to grade them 50/100 for not submitting school work. Source: Facebook/ Diane Tirado

“A teacher should have the right to decide the grade a child receives. If they simply do not turn in the work, an F they should receive,” one woman wrote.

Another applauded her for standing her ground.

In statement to ABC Action News, Kerry Padrick, the school’s chief information officer, confirmed Mrs Tirado was fired but denied her claims it was due to grading.

“There is no District or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in,” she said.

“The District’s Uniform Grading System utilises letter grades A-F, numerical grades 100-0 and grade point averages from 4-0.”

She also added zeroes are given out for work not attempted or incomplete.