Teacher Is Fired for Giving Zeros to Students Who Do No Homework

'We have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up — it's not real,' said educator

Image Credit: FOX10 / Getty

A Florida teacher reportedly has been fired for giving kids who didn’t turn in any homework a “zero” for the assignment.

Sounds pretty standard, right?

Not, apparently, at West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie.

Diane Tirado (pictured above left) has been a teacher for years, but she started at West Gate K-8 School in August as an eighth-grade U.S. history teacher, local station WPTV is reporting.

“Teaching is a calling for me,” she told the station.

The assignment in question was an explorer’s notebook project, which Tirado said she gave students two weeks to complete.

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When several students neglected to turn in anything at all, Tirado gave the students a zero.

This is when she says she found out about the school’s “no zero” policy, which is reflected in the West Gate student and parent handbook.

Below the grading rubric, in red lettering, the handbook states, “NO ZEROS — LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%,” noted WPTV.

“What if they don’t turn anything in?” Tirado told the news station about her question to administrators.

She said the answer was, “We give them a 50.”

“I go, ‘Oh, no, we don’t,'” she said. “This is not kosher.’”

Tirado was terminated on September 14, but there’s no specific cause mentioned in the letter — which she showed to the news station — from the principal, because she was still in her probationary period, according to the letter.

On her last day, Tirado said she packed up her classroom and wrote the message to her students on her whiteboard, sending out a picture of the note through a classroom app.

Several students responded in support.

“You were right about not giving people 50s because why would you give them half credit for doing nothing?” wrote one student in a message Tirado read to WPTV.

Then, Tirado posted the shot of the whiteboard on Facebook, where it’s been shared more than 400 times.

Her note 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.”

She signed it with a heart and “Mrs. Tirado.”

She said, “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,” Tirado said.

The principal of West Gate deferred comment to the school district’s public information officer.

Related: Students Late for Class? They’ll Be Fined $250 at This High School

Kerry Padrick, chief information officer, sent the following statement to WPTV: “Diane Tirado was employed as a teacher for St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) from July 30, 2018, to Sept. 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 support 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 expectations of quality is not an option.”

Padrick’s statement continued, “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 letter grades A-F, numerical grades 100-0, and grade-point averages from 4-0.”

When asked specifically about the wording of “no zeros” on the West Gate student and parent handbook, Padrick told WPTV, “Some classroom teachers and school faculties have discussed the range of points for work submitted in each grading category. This scale outlines a 10-point range for each letter grade: A = 90 to 100; B = 80 to 89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 50=59.”

This means they have no zeros in their grading scale.

Tirado said she was instructed never to give a student a zero, as the handbook states, and she hopes she can motivate policy change.

“A grade in Mrs. Tirado’s class is earned,” Tirado told the station.

Good morning all! ! The fight has gotten real. News stations everywhere are discussing school policy and questioning…

Posted by Diane Tirado on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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