Teacher Kicked Off Yelp for Posting Students’ Restaurant Reviews

The adorable reviews were part of the opinion writing class curriculum.

By Ethan L. Johns
June 18, 2018

Image: Shutterstock

Customers with a beef can wreak havoc on local businesses using online reviews. But what happens when those online reviewers are nine years old and only have good things to say?

Yelp is shutting down the account of a third-grade teacher in Boston after it caught wind of the fact that she was posting reviews written by her third-grade students.

Taryn Snyder, who works at the Boston Teachers Union School, has been assigning restaurant reviews as a part of the state’s requirement that third-graders learn about opinion writing. Snyder would take the completed assignments—typically around four or five paragraphs in length—and post them using a Yelp account in her name.

Students actually visited the restaurants before writing their reviews, and Snyder tells the Boston Globe that the reviews were only positive.

Still, Yelp informed her that her accounts were in violation of its terms of agreement, which require that an account be used only by its owner. The company also cited U.S. law, which, it says, does not allow children under the age of 13 to publish “personal experiences” online without parental consent.

Parents, however, found the project to be fun and educational. In a story published in February, one told ABC News that the reviews helped child improve his use of descriptive language and critical thinking.

So while the student reviews were missing the acid loathing and misguided hatred that we so often see on Yelp, no good deed can go unpunished on the internet. The reviews will be removed by Yelp on June 20th.

Snyder is determined, though, and will move her students’ reviews to Google Local. If they’re not cool with it either, she’ll start a blog.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns