08/29/2014 06:22 EDT | Updated 10/29/2014 05:59 EDT

Lynden Dorval, fired for giving zeros, 'treated unfairly,' appeal board rules

A provincial appeal board that looks into the firing of teachers has found the Edmonton Public School Board "did not act fairly" when they suspended and then fired Lynden Dorval, who broke school policy by giving zeros to his students.

"Sometimes standing up for something has an effect. It actually works," Dorval said Friday. "It was just something that was the right thing to do."

Dorval, a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School, was suspended in May 2012 for awarding zeros for work that wasn’t handed in or tests not taken, which went against the school’s policy.

Four months later, Dorval received a notice that he had been fired. He appealed the dismissal to the Board of Reference, which found earlier this month that he "was treated unfairly in his dismissal."

"This board finds no evidence of deliberate misconduct by the teacher, and certainly no evidence of deliberate repeated misconduct," the decision states.

The board ordered a full repayment of pay from the date of dismissal as well as a top-up of his pension.

Dorval is now retired, so the board did not order that he be reinstated.

The board also found Dorval’s original suspension in May was not justified and that he "was not permitted full opportunity" to respond to the allegations.

"The basis for the suspension appeared to be that the principal viewed any form of dissent as insubordination which was not to be tolerated, despite repeated efforts by teachers to explain why the directive interfered with their professional judgment and could result in illegitimate outcomes," the decision reads.

Edmonton Public School Board spokeswoman Lisa Austin said the ruling was disappointing and that the board would appeal.

She says the board made the decision after getting an opinion from outside legal counsel.

"They informed us that there was several grounds upon which we could appeal the decision," she said.

The school board has 30 days to file the appeal.