German Court Rules Students Can Rate Teachers Online

    June 23, 2009

The German High Court ruled on Tuesday that students my rate their teachers online, rejecting a case of a woman who maintained her rights had been infringed by pupils who gave her bad grades on a popular website.

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Astrid Czubayko-Reiss, said her privacy was violated by the site, (roughly translated, where she received unfavorable ratings from students.

"The right of students to exchange opinions and communicate freely outweighs the right of the teacher suing to determine information available about her," the court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe said.

"The opinions expressed are neither abusive nor insulting," the court said. "The plaintiff did not show that she had been harmed in any specific way."

The website allows students to rate teachers anonymously in categories including "cool and funny," "popular," "motivated," "relaxed," and "teaches well."

Czubayko, had received an overall grade of 4.3 or a "D." She had lost two previous cases before lower courts and appealed to the German High Court.

The German Teachers’ Association was critical of the ruling.

"It is inexplicable that the BGH values the personal rights of teachers less than an anonymous assessment of teachers by students on the Internet," Association president Josef Kraus said, referring to the federal court.