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Teacher fired after giving students zeros on homework

When we think about grade disputes, we often think about students who are unhappy with a teacher's grading decisions. However, there can also be conflicts when teachers are unhappy with a school's policies on grading.

In many cases, schools or districts will prevail in these situations, as long as their policies are lawful and evenly enforced. Though, this does not mean certain decisions are beyond scrutiny.

A real zero tolerance policy?

Recently, for instance, a Florida teacher says a school fired her for giving some students zeros on their assignments. The teacher says she did so because the students did not turn anything in.

Later, she learned she had been fired. She says it was because she violated a policy that prohibits teachers from giving students a score lower than 50 percent on any assignment. Even if a student failed to turn in an assignment altogether.

Not surprisingly, the teacher was upset at her dismissal.

Two sides to the story

While the teacher maintains that the policy appears in a parent handbook, a district spokesperson says that no such policy exists at that or any other school in the district.

The spokesperson went on to say that the school fired the teacher for poor performance, as well as unprofessional interactions with students and facilitation of a toxic classroom culture.

Finding a resolution

It is not unusual for there to be at least two sides to conflicts between teachers and schools or districts. In many cases, the parties just agree to disagree and go their own ways. However, if the dispute puts in jeopardy a teacher's job or reputation, it may be necessary to more fully scrutinize the situation and seek a formal declaration on who is right.

This could involve meetings with the district, mediation sessions or possibly litigation, depending on the details of the situation. In any setting, though, it can be wise for both parties to have legal representation and guidance.

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