09/14/2012 06:08 EDT | Updated 11/14/2012 05:12 EST

Edmonton teacher who gave 0s for unsubmitted work fired

An Edmonton teacher who refused to go along with his school's "no-zero" policy has been fired.

Lynden Dorval, a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School, was suspended in May for awarding zeros for work that wasn't handed in or tests not taken, even though it went against the school's policy of not awarding zeros.

Dorval found out Friday afternoon that he's been fired.

"I'm not bitter, a little bit angry," he said. "I was particularly upset with the language in the termination letter."

In the letter, superintendent Edgar Schmidt described Dorval's behaviour leading up to his suspension as "repeatedly insubordinate, unprofessional, and in disregard of lawful orders made by the principal."

"I expected that you would promise to reform your behaviour and apologize to the principal," he wrote.

Teacher contemptuous, says superintendent

However, Dorval continued to ignore directives and be dismissive, even contemptuous, of administrators, Schmidt said.

But Dorval's most serious shortcoming was failing to mark exams while keeping them at his home for four weeks after he was suspended, Schmidt said.

"I can only conclude that you simply did not care whether your actions hurt the students academically," he said. "I find this to be the most serious of all the issues your case presents."

Dorval said the letter misrepresented the case, pointing to its description of his attitude during a meeting with the superintendent.

"He talks about the fact that I had a very cavalier attitude and that I said I was happy that I was being paid to do nothing and I never said such a thing," Dorval said. "I was quite disturbed."

Dorval said he expected the decision and plans to appeal.

Dorval's public fight with administration over the policy has pushed the Edmonton Public School Board to review its grading policy.

Supporters of the no-zero policy say failing to complete assignments is a behavioural issue and marks should reflect ability, not behaviour.

But others believe the policy leaves students with the impression they don't need to be accountable for their actions.