News and Commentary

Florida Teacher Fired After Not Giving Students Credit For Work Not Turned In

A Florida teacher says she was fired from her job at West Gate in Port Saint Lucie earlier this month for refusing to give students credit for a project that students did not turn in, WPTV reports.

Diane Tirado, who has been teaching for 17 years, joined the school to teach eighth grade U.S. history but said after she assigned her students an explorer’s notebook project with two weeks to complete it, many of them did not turn it in.

The school has a policy — which Tirado calls a “no zero” policy — in its student and parent handbook that says the lowest possible grade a student can get is 50%.

Tirado says that when she asked administrators, “What if they don’t turn anything in?” they replied, “We give them a 50.”

Shortly after, Tirado was terminated but says no cause is mentioned in her termination letter.

On her last day, Tirado said goodbye to her class with a message on a whiteboard: “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.” Tirado says she sent a picture of the whiteboard to her students through a class app.

According to WPTV, one student responded, “You were right about not giving people 50s because why would you give them half credit for doing nothing?”

“The policy is truly an extension of something that was a positive policy to keep kids up when they try so they don’t fall so far down that they can’t get back up,” Tirado told The Daily Wire in an interview. “But that’s for kids that try. This is a different story — this is them not handing in anything.”

In a statement, the chief information officer for the school district said there is “no District or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in.”

“The district does not have a policy for it on the books, they have an under the cuff policy for it and lots of the schools are doing it with permission of the school board,” Tirado said. “What happened with my school is that they happened to put it into the handbook in bold red. They have it in print but the other ones do not.”

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

On Tuesday, Tirado took to Facebook to explain that she “took on this fight because it was ridiculous.”

“Teaching should not be this hard,” she wrote. “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!!!”

Tirado said she has been offered other teaching jobs with private schools, which she calls a blessing, and says she doesn’t want to work for the public school system again.

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