Teacher who defied 'no zero' rule lands new job
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012 11:17AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 19, 2012 4:42PM EDT
An Edmonton teacher who was fired for defying his school’s “no zero” policy says he’s landed a new job.
Lynden Dorval says he’s accepted a teaching position at Tempo, a provincially accredited private school in Edmonton’s Riverbend area. The school caters to students in kindergarten through to Grade 12.
Dorval was fired from his job as a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School after he defied the school’s policy to not give students zero grades for incomplete assignments.
He told CTV News that there’s no “no zero” policy at his new school.
“They give zeroes. They made that very clear,” Dorval said with a chuckle.
Dorval said he’ll be teaching advanced-placement physics, a slight curriculum change from his previous job teaching international baccalaureate (IB) physics.
“It’s fairly high level physics and with very good students,” he said. “For a physics teacher, that’s kind of a dream job.”
Dorval begins his new job on Oct. 16, a day after his termination from the Edmonton Public School Board takes effect. Meanwhile, Dorval said he still plans to appeal the board’s decision to fire him.
The veteran teacher of 35 years was first suspended from Ross Sheppard last May.
Policy at the high school requires teachers to give students “behavioural codes” -- such as an “NHI” for “not handed in” -- instead of zeroes for incomplete work.
But Dorval, now nicknamed the “Hero of Zero,” insisted on giving out zero grades. He argued that his approach teaches students to be resilient and better prepares them for life outside of school.
Principal Ron Bradley requested Dorval’s termination in a letter to the Edmonton Public School Board which cited Dorval’s “obvious neglect of duty as a professional teacher, his repeated insubordination and his continued refusal to obey lawful orders.”
He was formally terminated last Friday.
Dorval has received an outpouring of support from parents, teachers and other supporters who maintain the “no zero” policy only coddles students and promotes feelings of entitlement.
Superintendent Edgar Schmidt has called arguments against the policy “oversimplified,” and maintains that the rule doesn’t prevent students from failing classes if they refuse to do work.
With files from CTV Edmonton