Expectations are placed on teachers to carry out an effective teaching-learning process.

But so many people do not understand that there is more to do in a classroom than the active learning process.

Beyond teaching, teachers are required to prepare students for the next stage of their lives, with consistency and discipline as the backbone of this preparation.

However, the idea of learning became an illusion when an eighth-grade teacher in Florida, Diane Tirado, was fired for going against the “no zero grade” school policy.

Having worked in West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie in South Florida for only two months, the 52-year-old social studies teacher has accused the school of firing her.

She stated that the school had fired her for the disciplinary measures taken against the students who failed to hand in their first assignment of the year.

No Zeros – Lowest Possible Grade Is 50%

Few weeks before she was fired, she had given her students two weeks to submit an explorer notebook project.

But on the submission day, the majority of the students didn’t hand in their project.

Rather than give credit for activities not done, Diane awarded the zero score.

In an interview, Diane Tirado stated that parents had complained to her over the problematic assignments given to their eighth-graders.

She said, “I got called down to the principal’s office because parents were not happy with me.

It was ruining my life for weeks. In that meeting, I was informed of the “no zero” policy.”

As against Diane’s teaching-learning strategy, the school employs a “no zero policy” that requires the teacher to give students nothing less than 50 whether they submit an assignment or not.

Although Diane was aware of the rule, she felt the rule was wrong.

In red lettering and all in capitals, she had also found the “no zero policy” in the parent’s handbook – “NO ZEROS – LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%.”

But to her, the rule will only breed a set of nonchalant, undisciplined, and not-so-bright students.

Rather than agree with making “50” the lowest possible grade, Diane risked losing her job. And yes, she lost it.

“I am used to kids not handing in work… but then, chasing them until the report cards are in to make sure they make up with extra credit. But I don’t give a grade for nothing.” She revealed.

After executing what she felt is right, she received a termination letter with no cause mentioned by the school principal on September 14th.

While it was expected of the principal to state a reason for her termination, a teacher noted that no reason was stated because she was working under her probationary period.

She wrote a goodbye message on the whiteboard for them to read as she couldn’t bear the thought of facing the students to bid them farewell.

“I Have Been Fired For Refusing To Give You A 50% For Not Handing Anything In”

The note reads:

“Bye kids, Mrs. Tirado loves you and wish you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in. Mrs. Tirado.”

Her goodbye message triggered a lot of responses from her student and parents.

One of the students said, “You were right about not giving people 50s because why would you give them half credit for doing nothing?”

A parent replied, “You don’t know what is going on at home and what you see is the front level because if my son blatantly chooses not to do it, he knows he’s got an issue. Aren’t that right?”

To verify the authenticity of the event, the media requested an audience with the principal of the school.

However, the principal referred the media to the Public Information Office, and that was where things got quite confusing.

While Diane had stated that the school operates a “no zero policy,” the chief information officer, Kerry Padrick, has refuted that claim.

His released statement reads,

“Diane Tirado was employed as a teacher for St.Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) from July 30, 2018, to September 14, 2018. She was contracted as a teacher on probationary status and was terminated shortly after one month of classroom instruction.”

“SLPS values the importance of maintaining a high-quality teaching staff who supports students’ individualized learning needs, who understand the value of forming appropriate and positive relationships with students, colleagues, and parents; and who provide accurate and productive feedback to students on assignments.”

“Wavering on the expectation of quality is not an option. There is no District or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in. The District’s Uniform Grading System utilizes grades A-F, numerical grades 100-0, and grade point averages 4-0.”

When asked about the school’s zero policy, he responded, saying, “some classrooms teachers and school faculties have discussed the range of points of work submitted in each grading category.”

When asked about her dismissal, the district stated that:

“Her refusal to incorporate students’ Individual Education Plan accommodation (a federal mandate) into her instructional practices was deemed defiant and put students at risk. Her dismissal was not a result of grading issues.”

“Participation Trophy” Inspired The No Zeroes Policy

The alleged “no zero” policy with which West Gate operates is believed to have stemmed from the Parenting Trend known as “Participation trophy.”

Participation Trophy is based on eliminating the possibility of a “loser” in students by rewarding them for mere participation.

Proponents and followers of this style of child-rearing believe that the trend will boost these students’ self-esteem and confidence.

However, critics of this style believe that it will hinder children from accessing their ultimate abilities.

As a part of the critic community, Tirado said:

“It’s absurd to give someone something for nothing, and to do that is creating a future that is pretty darn bleak. We are creating monsters out of our children. 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… people that experience that kind of childhood… then you are entitled for the rest of your life.”

She posted on her Facebook page, “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.”

Weeks after the incident, she continued to express her disagreement in the country’s school systems.

In one of her posts, she revealed how the school system had replaced “earned” for “given.”

Students no longer earn their grades but are given.

More like a Gift!

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