A Florida teacher said she was fired after she refused to honor her school's controversial "no zeros" grading policy, WFTV reports.
Diane Tirado, a longtime educator, recently started a new job at West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Fla., teaching history to eighth graders.
Tirado said during the first few weeks of school, she assigned her class an "explorer notebook project," but after the two-week deadline expired, several students had still failed to turn in the assignment.
When Tirado consulted administrators about the school's guidelines on missing assignments, she claims she was told to give the students a 50 percent, which is the lowest grade allowed to be given under the school's "no zeros" policy.
After refusing to give students who didn't turn in the assignment half marks, Tirado says she was terminated on Sept. 14 without explanation.
On her last day of school, the educator wrote a message on her whiteboard, which she later shared on Facebook, to explain to her students why she had been let go.
"Bye, kids. Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life!" she wrote. "I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in."
Tirado told WFTV that she took a stand against the school's policy 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."
She said she hopes her actions will motivate policy change.
"A grade in Miss Tirado's class is earned," she added.
A spokesperson for West Gate denied Tirado's claims, stating: "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 refuted the school's statement, claiming she was expressly told she was not allowed to give a student a zero.