8th Grade Teacher Claimed She Was Fired For Giving Zeroes To Students Who Didn't Submit Homework

The school denied that the teacher's grading policy was the reason for her dismissal.

Last updated on Mar 12, 2024

teacher grading in the classroom michaeljung / Shutterstock

Diana Tirado, who taught U.S. History at West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, Florida was forced to say goodbye to her students after she was fired from her job for not giving the students any credit for their homework.

In 2018, Tirado claimed she was fired for giving zeroes to students who didn't turn their homework in.

In an interview with local news outlet WPTV at the time, Tirado explained that she had been hired during the 2018 summer break to teach eighth-grade social studies at the Florida school the upcoming school year. Despite having 17 years of experience as a teacher, with education experience in different grades and classrooms both online and in-person, she claimed she was fired her first year at West Gate for ignoring the school's "No Zero" policy.


According to the school's polocy, which is printed in the student and parent handbook, the lowest grade teachers can give students is 50%.

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The eighth-grade teacher took to Facebook after the incident, posting a photo of the message she had written on her whiteboard for her students during her last day teaching in September 2018, just two months after she had been hired.

"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.

Despite facing serious repercussions for not adhering to the school's policy, Tirado defended her actions, telling WPTV that she refused to let her students off easy when that's not why they attend school every day.

"What if they don’t turn anything in? ‘We give them a 50.’ I go, ‘Oh, we don’t.’ 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 the news outlet.


Tirado claimed didn't receive a specific reason from the principal for her termination.

In an interview with the NY Post, Tirado said she had been called to the principal's office after they had learned she hadn't given her students 50% for not turning in their homework. However, when she received her letter of termination, she noticed that there was no official cause mentioned for why she was being fired. Despite not seeing it, Tirado knew what the issue had been.

"I loudly bucked the system,” she said. “I refused to do their policy. I guess you would call that defiance.”

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Tirado also made sure to speak openly about the reason she had been fired on her Facebook page, expressing her disagreement with the school system.

"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,” she wrote on her social media page. 

“Teachers also provide numerous attempts to get the work collected so they can give a child a grade. By nature, most teachers are loving souls who want to see students succeed. We do above and beyond actual teaching to give them the support they need. Are we perfect? NO. We make mistakes like all other human beings, but I know teachers work their butts off to help children to be the best people they can be!”

However, the school district denied that they had fired Tirado over the school's grading policy.

"[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,” the school said  in a statement to WPTV.


A CBS12 News investigative report soon found that the "performance" school officials were referring to included "inappropriate physical contact with students." The school alleged that, among other things, Tirado reportedly put one student in a chokehold and slapped another.

Overall, the report found that the teacher allegedly "violated a combined total of 20 Principals of Professional Conduct and School Board Polices" and "engaged in inappropriate physical contact and communication with students by publicly humiliating them and created an environment that was not conducive to learning."

At the time, Tirado told CBS12 News that she was considering taking legal action against the school district. A lawsuit is currently pending.


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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.