Teacher may have handed out his last zero

Suspended Alberta teacher Lynden Dorval. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI Agency)

Suspended Alberta teacher Lynden Dorval. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI Agency)

Aaron Taylor, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

EDMONTON - The teacher who polarized parents, students and other teachers by giving out zeros for missed assignments may have served his last day with the Edmonton Public School Board.

"I did get, just [Tuesday], in the mail a letter that said they are going to terminate my contract, so I have a hearing with the superintendent on September 10," Lynden Dorval said.

"I certainly will present my case, but I doubt very much it'll matter. It's up to the superintendent."

Dorval, a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard Secondary School, is currently under suspension for violating the school board's no-zero policy, a policy that he said does more harm than good to students.

"I don't think it helps students to push them through; the students aren't being held accountable and that's the problem," Dorval said.

"A parent said she had a daughter take my class in grade 10 and I gave her a zero [and] after that she never failed to turn in an assignment again."

Dorval said that of the roughly 90 Physics 30 students he had last year, he handed out about six zeros for the entire year. He also said that this number was higher in lower grades, when students were more likely to skip class.

Despite being firm in his opinion that students who fail to hand in assignments should receive a zero instead of an "incomplete," Dorval said that he wasn't looking to hand out zeros.

"In my case, the students were always allowed to make up their zero," he said.

Neither the termination hearing nor the suspension came as a shock to Dorval, who said he knew that this would be a possibility. He believes it is a worthy sacrifice to make the issue public.

"I knew it could end my career so I was at least partially prepared for what is happening now," he said.

"At least the issue got to the public, and hopefully people will continue to talk about it - talk about how teachers are not allowed to act as professionals."

Dorval is not hopeful about the Sept. 10 hearing, adding that if he is terminated he will look into legal action against the school board and the possibility of teaching for a different board.

Dorval also said he would consider retirement, as he has been paying into a pension for 35 years.

The EPSB said that although Dorval had the opportunity to appeal his suspension, the time to appeal has passed.

Ross Shep students are set to return to school on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

aaron.taylor@sunmedia.ca

@ataylorSUN


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