District blasts fired teacher, says there is more to story

Teacher claims she was fired for not giving students 50s for unsubmitted work

Diane Tirado Facebook

PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida – Diane Tirado was let go from a Port St. Lucie public school in Florida, she claims, for refusing to give students a 50 instead of a zero on work not turned in.

Tirado, 52, had been a teacher for 17 years prior to starting the 2018-2019 school year working at West Gate K-8 as an eighth-grade social studies teacher.

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She wrote a note to her students on her final day on her classroom whiteboard that reads:

“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. Mrs. Tirado.”

KSAT reached out to the school district, and a spokesperson responded saying, in part:

"Ms. Tirado was released from her duties as an instructor because her performance was deemed sub-standard and her interactions with students, staff, and parents lacked professionalism and created a toxic culture on the school’s campus. 

During her brief time of employment at West Gate, the school fielded numerous student and parent complaints as well as concerns from colleagues. Based on new information shared with school administrators, an investigation of possible physical abuse is underway."

The spokesperson also mentioned the schools grading policy, stating that there isn’t any policy prohibiting a teacher from recording a zero for work not turned in.

Tirade posted an update on her Facebook page Tuesday morning, saying, "The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous. Teaching should not be this hard. 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.”

Read her full post below:
If you’re unable to see the post, click here.

Good morning! I am reading all the posts you have written and reflecting upon them. The reason I took on this fight was...

Posted by Diane Tirado on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The district outlined the grading system in an email, explaining, "The District’s Uniform Grading System utilizes letter grades A-F, numerical grades 100-0 and grade point averages from 4-0. Some classroom teachers and school faculties have discussed the range of points for work submitted in each grading category."

This scale published by West Gate outlines a 10-point range for each letter grade: 

A = 90 to 100

B = 80 to 89

C = 70-79

D = 60-69

F = 50-59

A zero is noted on the scale for work not attempted or work that is incomplete. 

“Her refusal to incorporate students’ Individual Education Plan accommodations (a federal mandate) into her instructional practices was deemed defiant and put students at risk. Her dismissal was not a result of grading issues,” according to the district spokesperson.

Tirado has not yet responded to KSAT’s request for comment.