|Former Ross Sheppard teacher Lynden Dorval, who was suspended for violating the school board's no-zero policy, holds his termination letter in his home on Sept. 14, 2012. Dorval has been at the centre of the polarizing dispute. (Amber Bracken/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Ross Sheppard high school students were angry Monday as they went to class for the first time since hearing that Lynden Dorval, the teacher who refused to follow the school's "no-zero" grade policy, had officially been fired by the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB).
"I didn't agree with the decision at all," Grade 12 student Aiden Villanueva said. "If students are lazy enough to get a zero, then that is the grade that they deserve."
Villanueva, who said he used to be one of those students, said that seeing zeros was a wake-up call that motivated him to work harder.
Dorval was also supported by Grade 12 student Brittany Cogswell, who was in Dorval's science class last year.
"Most of us that were actually in the class were on his side," Cogswell said. "He's a really good teacher, it is unfair that he got fired because most of us liked him.
"I feel like those who don't work hard in school shouldn't get to have an opinion about teachers."
Cogswell also said that the rule is unfair to the students who put in the work.
Dorval said that while this wasn't his most critical argument, it was an issue he raised when pleading his case to the EPSB.
Even a student who didn't agree with Dorval when it came to not following the no-zero policy said that she didn't think he should be fired.
First-year student Shancelin Mukundo has heard the rumblings around campus and was upset with the school board's decision.
"From what I've heard the teacher was actually a good teacher and everyone liked him," she said. "Even if a student didn't do the work that doesn't mean that they didn't learn, they should be given grades for showing up and learning in class, but I still don't think he should have been fired."
Dorval, who plans on appealing the board's decision, said that support like this is always appreciated.
"It always helps to have support, that's all I've ever had," he said. "Nothing but support from parents, other staff, university professors, it never hurts to have support from anybody."
Dorval has not heard yet from the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) as to whether they will financially support the appeal, but said that regardless of the ATA's decision he will move forward, even on his "own dime."
Dorval received a letter from the EPSB on Sept. 14 giving him one month's notice of termination. His contract is officially terminated Oct. 15.