PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A South Florida teacher said she was fired after she refused to give a student a 50 percent grade on homework that was not turned in, CNN reported.
Port St. Lucie teacher Diana Tirado said students should not get credit for work that was never handed in.
Tirado said motivation and inspiration is what she strives to provide her students. Tirado has been a teacher for years, but she started at West Gate K-8 School in August as an eighth-grade history teacher.
"Teaching is a calling for me," she said.
Tirado said she assigned an explorer notebook project which she gave the student’s two weeks to complete.
When several students did not turn in their assignments, Tirado said she found out about a “no zeros” policy, in which the lowest possible grade allowed to be given is 50 percent. The policy is reflected in the student and parent handbook, Tirado said.
Tirado said she asked administrators, "What if they don't turn it in?”
She said the reply she received was, “We'll give them a 50.”
"You don't know what's going on at home. If my son blatantly chooses not to do it, he knows he's got an issue right there, right," one parent said.
Tirado was terminated on Sept. 14, but there's no clause mentioned in the letter from the principal since she was still in her probationary period.
On her last day of school, Tirado wrote this 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 sent a picture of it through a class app and her students responded.
"You were right about not giving people 50s, because why would you give them half credit for doing nothing?" a student wrote.
Tirado posted the shot of the whiteboard on Facebook, and it’s been shared hundreds of times.
“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 hopes her actions will motivate policy change.
“A grade in Miss Tirado's class is earned," she said.
The chief information officer for West Gate said in a statement:
"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 to zero and grade point averages from four to zero."
Tirado said she was told never to give a student a zero.
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