Edmonton teacher loses job for violating no-zero grading policy

An Edmonton physics teacher, who was at the centre of the no-zero policy controversy, was fired by Edmonton Public Schools, Friday afternoon.

Lynden Dorval was suspended with pay from Ross Sheppard High School in May, for insubordination, after handing out zeroes to his students, which is against the Edmonton Public School Board’s policy.

On Monday, Dorval had a three hour private meeting with Ross Sheppard High School Principal Ron Bradley and Edmonton Public Schools Superintendent Edgar Schmidt. He said both he and Bradley had a chance to present their cases, before the superintendent questioned them.

Friday afternoon, Dorval received a special delivery from a courier.

“It was a letter, I have here, from the Superintendent indicating that my contract will be terminated in 30 days,” he said adding, “As of October 15, I am out of income and benefits.”

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Dorval said while he tried his best to prepare for the worst, it has finally hit him that he is out of a job.

“I’m quite depressed at this point. I was trying to prepare myself for it but, of course, it’s a pretty final thing for me and now that it’s finally happened, it has hit pretty hard.”

Dorval has been overwhelmed by support from former students and members of the public. He said throughout the entire ordeal, he has heard one clear message from the public.

“They say it’s nonsense that it’s even happening. It’s just ludicrous that it has even gone this far, that giving zeros is something the public seems to believe is good for students, and using this code system and pushing the kids through is simply not a good way to encourage kids to learn and to be responsible citizens.”

For Dorval, the entire process has been a battle but, he said it has been worth it and it’s not over yet.

“I still have the possibility of appeal and there is, apparently, a court of appeal, through the Provincial court that I can appeal to, as well, for another decision.”

Dorval has two weeks to file an appeal, and another big decision to make rather quickly. That decision- whether or not to retire.

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“We do have 30 days, that’s all we need for notice of retirement, for me to start collecting pension,” he said adding, “If I do retire, there’s absolutely no way i’m going to withdraw from the appeal, i’ll go through with that no matter what.”

Before all of this happened, Dorval said he was having a great year with his students and was planning on teaching for at least two more years before retiring.

“It’s very disturbing to have it end this way.”

The Minister of Education wasn’t available for comment however, a spokesperson within the ministry said the province feels very strongly that local teachers and school boards are in the best position to determine practices around assessment of students.


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