Most college’s student records are private under state and federal law, but an appellate court decision here in Florida has created an exception. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, students who put complaints in writing can have their name released.
State and Federal law protects most college students’ records. But when a Gainesville Community College student wrote the school that instructor Darnell Rhea was unorthodox and humiliating, Rhea asked for the students name. The school said no.
“A person can be accused of something and they don’t have the right to know who the accuser is? That just seems totally un-American to me,” Rhea said.
Rhea sued and won on appeal. Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled that the written complaint wasn’t a student record, but directly related to the teacher.
At Florida State, Junior Jessica Nwasike found the ruling troubling.
“I’m kind of scared to do it then, because what if the teacher decides to punish me by changing my grade or something like that,” Nwasike said.
Lauren Hutson from Ft. Myers is already unhappy with a professor.
“I definitely would not want her to know if I did complain,” Huston said.
“There’s nothing in a ruling that will prevent a student from showing up here in person, and then going into the dean’s office and voicing their complaint with nothing being written down.”
Students can also use the website rate my professor to check out a class before they take it.
“That’s my holy grail, right there,” Tyra Brune, a sophomore from Coral Springs, FL said. “I always use rate my professor before I take a class.”
Ironically for Darnell Rhea, his only ranking on a Rate My Teacher website called him the best teacher ever.