PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – A teacher in Florida claims she was fired for refusing to give credit to students who didn't hand in their work.
Diane Tirado, 52, has been a teacher for more than 17 years, WPEC reports. She began working this year as an eighth grade social studies teacher at West Gate K-8 School, but was fired on September 14.
“I got fired. I was packing my stuff, and I was not going to see the kids,” Tirado told WPEC.
Not being given the chance to say goodbye to her students in-person, Tirado says she left a message on the white board.
“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. [heart] Mrs. Tirado,” she wrote.
Tirado snapped a photo of the message and posted it on Facebook, where it has been shared hundreds of times. Comments on the photo are overwhelmingly in support of Tirado. The teacher said she also received messages of encouragement from her eighth grade students.
Tirado said she had given her students two weeks to complete a project, but some did not turn it in. That's when she said she learned of the school's no-zero grading policy. The school's handbook states, in red, "NO ZERO’s – LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%.”
WPEC reports that Tirado's termination letter did not cite a specific reason for the firing, only stating she was contracted as a teacher on a probation period, and that she could be dismissed without cause.
“If there’s nothing to grade, how can I give somebody a fifty?” Tirado asked while speaking with WPEC. “I’m arguing the fact that you don’t get something for nothing. I want the policy changed, and it’s not just here.”
As of Tuesday, West Gate K-8 School has not responded to the controversy.