'No-zero' teacher Lynden Dorval cleared of unprofessional conduct

The teacher who was fired from an Edmonton school for handing out zeros for incomplete work has been cleared of unprofessional conduct charges by his union.

'I didn't want to get publicity or be anybody's hero.'

Lynden Dorval says he plans to appeal a ruling he could not be reinstated to his old job. (CBC)

The teacher who was fired from an Edmonton school for handing out zeros for incomplete work has been cleared of unprofessional conduct charges by his union.

"Even yesterday I broke down, like I'm almost doing now,” said Lynden Dorval. “Because it brought back the emotion of being suspended.”

Dorval was suspended, and eventually fired, from  his job teaching physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School in 2012 for giving out zeros, which was against school policy.

While a provincial appeal board later ruled that Dorval was treated "unfairly," he still had to face charges of unprofessional conduct from the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA) for his actions related to the incident.

He was accused of failing to follow his school’s policy, not returning student exams to the school and not attending staff meetings.

Dorval says the complaint was brought before the union by the same superintendent who fired him.

After a two-day hearing, the ATA's professional conduct committee cleared him of all three charges.

"It's wasn't a complicated decision,” Dorval said after the hearing.

“I didn't want to get publicity or be anybody's hero."

A spokesperson for the union said the ATA had to investigate after receiving the complaint, and now has 30 days to appeal the committee's' decision.

Even so, Dorval says that he feels betrayed by the actions of the union, which he contends didn’t give him the support he needed during his suspension. To then proceed with unprofessional conduct charges put further distance between them, in his eyes.

“Afterwards, I thought ‘what is going on here?’ This is a member of my own union prosecuting me and acting like a member of the (school) board,” he said.

'I would go back'

The fallout from the firing continues. While he did win back-pay, including a top-up to his pension, Doval’s real goal is to return to his old job. 

“I would go back,” Dorval said.

The Edmonton Public School Board plans to appeal the provincial board's decision. Dorval plans to use that opportunity to argue that he should be reinstated.

In the meantime, he says he has been working with other teachers who have run afoul of their schools’ 'no-zero' policies. He worries that his long, public battle with the school board has discouraged other teachers from giving out the marks they think are right.

“They don’t want all this hassle. They’ll bypass it, they’ll just not give the zero. “


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