04/25/2013 11:47 EDT | Updated 06/25/2013 05:12 EDT

'No Zero' Policy Reversed In Edmonton Schools, Fired Teacher Applauds Move


The Edmonton Public School Board has reversed an earlier policy that cost one high school teacher his job.

In a vote Tuesday, board trustees reversed the "no-zero'' policy which barred teachers from giving students a grade of zero.

Instead, teachers were required to give students an incomplete for assignments not handed in or for missed tests.

Lynden Dorval made national headlines last fall when he was fired for insubordination for giving such students a zero, saying he believed it motivated them to finish their work.

After being fired, Dorval worked briefly at a private school but then retired.

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He said Tuesday's vote is a kind of vindication for him.

"I have mixed feelings,'' he said. "It's nice to see that they've come up with a much better policy that allows, from what I can tell, teachers to make decisions.

"That's sort of why I'm in the situation I am now, that's what I've always felt.''

The board originally argued a zero is counterproductive because it doesn't truly reflect what a student knows about a subject, and said students would be expected to make up the work.

But Dorval argued teachers don't have the time to track down wayward students, and when they do, few ever complete the makeup assignment.