Earlier today, a local government council in Scotland lifted a ban it had briefly imposed on a nine-year-old elementary school student for posting photos of and rating state-sponsored school lunches.For the past few months, Martha “Veg” Payne had posted colourful photos and descriptions of her daily meals on a blog called NeverSeconds.
Most of her posts were rather positive — many of the meals received a “Food-o-meter rating” of “8 or 9/10.”
Seriously, the following description of a hamburger and roasted potatoes was about as bad as it ever got:
“I almost forgot to take a photo today and I had a bite of my burger before I remembered so I turned it around so you can’t see it! I had yellow and red peppers, cucumber and roast potatoes. The roast potatoes taste different to the ones at home, My roast potatoes today tasted more like mash. The weather was so nice we were allowed to take our lollies outside.”
Little wonder, then, that British human rights group Big Brother Watch got involved upon learning of the ban, suggesting it was “an authoritarian infringement on her civil liberties”.
The Argyle and Bute council had ordered Payne to stop blogging, according to the BBC, because media coverage of the blog had “led catering staff to fear for their jobs.”
The council later issued a statement initially defending the ban, according to the Evening Standard, that read in part:
“The photographic images uploaded appear to only represent a fraction of the choices available to pupils, so a decision has been made by the Council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen.”
It added: “The council has had no complaints for the last two years about the quality of school meals other than one from the Payne family received on 6 June and there have been no changes to the service on offer since the introduction of the blog.”
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