Florida teacher leaves sassy whiteboard message for students after being fired

A Florida teacher says she was fired for refusing to give credit to students who handed nothing in.

Diane Tirado taught history at West Gate K-8 School in Port St Lucie, which she says has a 'no zero' policy. That means teachers were required to give all assignments at least 50 points out of a possible 100.

When Mrs Tirado, 52, assigned her eight grade class a project with a two-week deadline, several students did not turn it in. It was then that she was made aware of West Gate's grading policy, which is explained in the school handbook as 'No zeros - lowest possible grade is 50 percent'.

West Gate's grading policy as described in the school handbook.
West Gate's grading policy as described in the school handbook. Photo credit: WPTV

When Mrs Tirado asked about how to grade non-existent work, she was told to give students who didn't hand in the project a 50.

"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," she told TV station WPTV.

She was fired on September 14, which she believes is because she refused to comply with the 'no zero' policy. Her letter of termination does not mention a specific cause because she was still in her probationary period.

While packing up her classroom on her last day at the school, she wrote a goodbye message for her students on the 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 percent for not handing anything in," it read.

She posted a photo of her parting message to Facebook, where it has since been shared more than 2000 times. Several of her students replied to her post with messages of support.

The principal of West Gate did not comment on the story, but school district public information officer Kerry Padrick provided WPTV with a statement that seems to contradict Mrs Tirado's claim of a 'no zero' policy.

"There is no District or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in," it reads.

The statement says the school's grading category specifies an F grade as being between 50 and 59 points, while a zero should be given for incomplete work or work that is not attempted.