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Bittersweet victory for teacher fired for handing out zeros

WATCH: He sparked debate after going against Edmonton public’s ‘no zero’ grading policy. Now, Lynden Dorval welcomed a victory. Shallima Maharaj explains.

EDMONTON – It’s been two-and-a-half years since he was suspended for handing out zeros in the classroom and now, former teacher Lynden Dorval has been cleared of three “unprofessional conduct” charges.

Dorval was found not guilty of all three charges by an Alberta Teachers’ Association professional conduct committee Friday morning.

“I’m very happy that I did get a decision in my favour,” Dorval said Friday afternoon, “but still disturbed that I had to go through this from my union. This is my own union that had me charged with unprofessional conduct.”

The three charges of unprofessional conduct state that, while a member of the ATA, the Edmonton public school teacher:

  • Refused to implement the assessment policy mandated by his principal
  • Neglected to return student exams and failed to remain off school property as directed by his principal
  • Refused to attend staff meeting as directed by his principal

The charges came after the ATA received a complaint of unprofessional conduct against Dorval. A spokesperson with the ATA says the association is obligated to investigate all complaints it receives.

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“After an investigation it was determined that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing,” said Jonathan Teghtmeyer. “The panel included two teachers and one member of the public.”

The latest charges from the ATA are separate from Dorval’s suspension and termination from the Edmonton Public School Board, which date back to 2012. In August of this year, an Alberta appeal board determined the EPSB was unfair in suspending and firing the teacher who gave out zeros to his students.

The appeal board ruled that Dorval was to be paid his salary from the date of his dismissal and also that his pension be topped up.

READ MORE: Edmonton teacher fired for handing out zeros wins appeal 

Dorval says he likely won’t see that money anytime soon, though, as the school board has filed an appeal.

“I’ve been told that the money that I’ve already been awarded by the board of reference … that I won’t see that probably until 2016.

The ATA now has 30 days to appeal Friday’s not guilty verdicts.

After he was fired, Dorval was hired by a private school in Edmonton. He has since retired but says he misses the classroom.

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In April 2013, the school board reversed its “no-zero” policy which barred teachers from giving students a grade of zero.

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