A Florida teacher has been fired for giving her students zeros for missing assignments. It's against school policy for teachers at her school to give their students a zero, even if they hadn't handed anything in.
Diane Tirado had been a teacher for years, most recently as an eighth-grade teacher at Westgate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Her teaching philosophy revolved around earning every mark that you get in her class.
Diane Gave Her Students Two Weeks To Finish The Assignment
Diane gave her students two weeks to complete an assignment in their notebook. While most students at least were able to hand the project in to get part marks, some students decided they weren't going to hand it in at all.
Since those students didn't hand anything in, Diane gave them a zero despite the school policy that encouraged her not to. According to the school, Diane should've given them 50% to ensure that they still had a passing grade.
She Left A Goodbye Note To Her Students
Well, when the school administrators caught wind that she was giving zeros they fired her. Since the elementary school had a "no zero policy," they had grounds to fire her since she kept giving kids less than 50%.
It's a rule that, unsurprisingly, Diane didn't agree with. When she found out that she was fired, she left her kids a goodbye message on the board that ended up going viral after she posted it to her Facebook page.
She Posted To Facebook To Spread Awareness
She was hoping to spread awareness about the school's policy and she wanted everyone to know exactly why she got fired. She said, "A grade in Mrs. Tirado's class is earned. 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."
Diane's post sparked a lot of conversation both on the picture and off of it. Most of the commenters on the picture agreed with her position.
It's Hard To Give A Mark To An Assignment That Doesn't Exist
Most of the people voicing their opinions about what happened to her think that it's unfair to hand out grades for work that doesn't even exist. Diane replied, "The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous. Teaching should not be this hard."
The thing is, Diane isn't alone on this. Many private school teachers are told that they can't fail students, even if they don't show up or hand in any assignments.
She Has No Regrets
Since Diane was still on a probationary period, the termination letter did not actually tell her why she was fired, but she's well aware. Because of this, it's going to be very hard for her to sue (if so chooses to do so).
At the end of the day, she does not regret standing up for what she believes in even if it ended up costing her a job. By the looks of her Facebook post, she has a lot of fans who've got her back.
Diane Isn't The First One
It's interesting to know that Diane isn't the only teacher to face expulsion from her job because she gave zeros. In 2012, a Canadian teacher named Lynden Dorval refused to go along with his school's "no zero policy" and was also fired.
Dorval was a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School and was awarding zeros for work that wasn't handed in or tests that students refused to take even though he knew it was against the rules.
He Was Suspended First
He claimed that he wasn't bitter after the firing, but he was upset with the language in the termination letter. In it, the superintendent said that Dorval's behavior leading up to his suspension was "repeatedly insubordinate, unprofessional, and in disregard of lawful orders made by the principal."
After he was suspended (for his conduct with marking the first time), he refused to mark exams while keeping them at his place for four weeks, which didn't sit well with the school.
He Won Some Money, But Didn't Get His Job Back
Many parents spoke out to support Doval, saying that students shouldn't be taught that they don't need to be accountable for their actions. Others said that the firing was needed because failing to complete assignments is a behavioral issue and marks should reflect ability, not behavior.
Dorval ended up winning a lawsuit against the school board and was allowed to keep a lot of his money, but he wasn't able to get his job back in the process.
They Reversed The Policy
Two years after his firing, the Board of Reference ruled that Dorval had been unfairly suspended and fired, and awarded him two years of salary and a top-up on his pension.
Several months after Dorval was fired, the school board reversed its no-zero policy that barred teachers from giving students a grade of zero. He has since retired, but has publicly declared the new rules are just a reworking of the old policy and teachers still aren't allowed to make their own decisions on grades and marks.
Fired For A Facebook Picture
In 2011, Ashley Payne was fired from her job as a teacher because a parent of a student found an old picture of her on her Facebook page holding a beer and a glass of wine. It seems the worst thing you could accuse her of was mixing her drinks, but it ended up costing her a job.
The picture in question was taken two years before and was clearly taken at a bar. The parent complained and Miss Payne was shocked to find herself in the head teacher's office.
Resign Or Be Suspended
She said that she was asked by the head teacher whether she has a Facebook page, and she explained that she does. The superintendent asked her if she has any pictures of herself with alcohol, and she said she probably does.
He gave her two options, resign or be suspended and she chose to resign. Payne's lawyer said the termination was unjust. He said, "it would be like I went to a restaurant and saw my daughter's teacher sitting there with her husband having a glass of some kind of liquid."
She Sued To Get Her Job Back
Miss Payne later found out that it was one anonymous emailer who shopped her to the school board after seeing the picture. She said she was baffled that a parent would've been able to get on her page after all the precautions she took to make her page private.
The school claimed that her conduct online "promoted alcohol use" and "contained profanity." Payne sued the school board in an attempt to get her job back.
The Judge Ruled Against Her
The Barrow Country judge ruled against the former teacher. In her statement, she said that the district had pressured her to resign, but they say that she volunteered on her own. She asked the court to determine that she was entitled to a due process hearing.
She also sought back pay and money for legal fees. After Payne and her lawyer figured she wouldn't get her job back, they sought for strictly monetary damages.
She Didn't Win The Case Because Of Georgia Law
Payne's lawyer argued that Payne was deprived of her property rights without due process because the district pressured her to resign by misrepresenting that a parent had complained even though the district had no idea of the source of the email.
Georgia law states that if employees resign, even if it's because someone's hands are forced, it doesn't equal an involuntary termination. They were claiming that she wasn't told her rights to a statutory hearing, that the basic premise of what was going on misrepresented her. They said there was a complaint from a parent when they didn't actually have that information.
A Teacher Was Fired For Being "Ineffective"
Jeff Canady was teaching for 18 years in the Washington D.C. area before he was fired after being deemed "ineffective." The 53-year-old contested his dismissal, arguing that he was wrongly fired for being a union activist and for publicly criticizing the school system.
He was awaiting his hearing for nearly ten years living dollar to dollar. Finally, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the fired teacher, a decision that could entitle him to hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and the opportunity to teach in the area again.
He Was 1 Of 1000 At The Time
Jeff says that he feels like he's been held hostage not able to work or get a hearing on his case. He was one of nearly 1,000 teachers fired during the three-and-a-half years that Michelle Rhee (who was very controversial) was the D.C. school chancellor.
At the time, Canady was a third grade teacher making around $80,000 year when he was fired. He was deemed ineffective despite his third-graders performing well and posting strong scores on his evaluation.
The Ruling Went In His Favor
Canady and his lawyer suspected that he got the negative evaluations from the school board because of his public criticism of the school system and not actually his performance in the classroom.
The final ruling said that the school system improperly evaluated Canady and showed "anti-union animus toward him." He said that he had ambitions to be a top official in the school system and that his firing killed a lot of his career opportunities in the future.
He's Now Unsure If He Even Wants To Go Back
Canady remained in the District and continued to attend political and community meetings but has not been able to keep a steady job since his firing. With basically no income, he has moved around the city a lot and said his firing has extracted a physical and emotional toll on him.
He's now unsure that he would even want to go back into the classroom because he still disagrees with how the District is operating its schools.
A Teacher Was Let Go For A Private Picture She Sent To Her Boyfriend
Lauren Miranda says that she sent a picture of herself nude to her boyfriend at the time, who happened to be another teacher in the district, and students got a hold of it.
She had sent the picture two years prior to anything leaking to the students, and she was immediately fired as a result. She has since filed a $3 million lawsuit against her former employer saying she was improperly let go. Her attorney is calling it discrimination.
She Claims Double Standards Against Men And Women
Miranda loved working at Bellport Middle School and says that she would be willing to drop the lawsuit if she was reinstated, however she says that the superintendent told her that's not happening.
Miranda has been actively looking for other teaching jobs in the area, but since the case got so much news, it's been difficult. She says that anytime a picture of a man's chest surfaces it's a non-story, but it's different with women. There has been no ruling on this case.