Teacher-ranking website in Germany wins court case
27 November 2007, Cologne - In a key internet free-speech case, a website that grades German schoolteachers defeated a legal challenge Tuesday from a woman who said she was insulted by her low ranking.
27 November 2007
Cologne - In a key internet free-speech case, a website that grades German schoolteachers defeated a legal challenge Tuesday from a woman who said she was insulted by her low ranking.
The website, Spickmich, would have been inconceivable before the internet was invented, since it allows secondary pupils all over Germany to vote online on the qualities of their teachers.
A state superior court in the city of Cologne ruled that the website was protected by constitutional freedom of opinion rights. It agreed with a lower court, rejecting the teacher's application for a closure order.
Users have to register as pupils with the website, both to vote and to see the rankings.
The pupils vote on a scale from 1 to 6 in several categories, such as, "motivated," "highly prepared in class" and "gives fair marks," as well as fun categories such as "cool" and "sexy." At least four voters are required for a valid poll.
The presiding judge personally registered with the website to try it out and ensure that it was run fairly.
Founded by three Cologne university students, the site has become a hot dot-com property, with more than 250,000 school pupils registered as users.
Founder Tino Keller said it created a channel of communication and made teacher assessment transparent. Another founder, Bernd Dicks, said the rankings showed pupils were generally satisfied with their teachers.
Many teachers are vehemently opposed to the site, saying no teacher should be graded without consent.
Subject: German news