Court rules ‘No Zero’ teacher will keep compensation but won’t get job back

Retired Alberta high school teacher Lynden Dorval. Global News

The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a decision Wednesday to compensate Lynden Dorval with two-years’ salary and top up his pension.

In the Jan. 13 decision, the court dismissed both the appeal by the Edmonton Public School Board, and a cross-appeal by Dorval.

The board’s award of damages was upheld.

“This has really created a sort of a legal basis for teachers to finally stand up and say, ‘No. You can’t tell me, as a superintendent or a principal, you can’t tell me how to evaluate my students.’ Because the judgement does say that teachers should be allowed the decision making. They are professionals and they should be treated as professionals,” Dorval said Thursday.

The former Ross Sheppard High School teacher challenged the board’s decision to award him damages rather than allow him to return to his job.

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While he’s happy he won in the end, Dorval is still disappointed he was not reinstated.

“I was disappointed in that,” Dorval said, “although it’s getting late now, I turned 65 in December so I’m getting on. But I was still hoping maybe to get back in the classroom for a while yet.

In 2012, Dorval was suspended for handing out zeros in the classroom, which went against the school’s policy.

In August 2014, an Alberta appeal board determined the EPSB was unfair in suspending and firing him. 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 

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

“I knew that what I did was right and whether it was legal or not it was the right thing to do and the support of family, friends and colleagues, and former students even, really has helped get me through this,” Dorval said Thursday.

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“I never really thought much about the consequences. I just knew that this was, it really was the stupidest thing I had ever heard or been asked to do as a teacher. And it was just so stupid I couldn’t follow it. It was really as simple as that.”

READ MORE: Bittersweet victory for teacher fired for handing out zeros

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

Dorval hopes his case

Click here to read the full Alberta Court of Appeal decision.

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.

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