City bans student from posting photos of school meals online

Nine year old’s battle with censorship puts school meals staff in negative light.

A few weeks back I read an article about a nine-year-old Scottish student who started a blog about the meals served in her school. She rated the meals based on overall taste, portions, health, courses and pieces of hair. The student, Martha Payne, also posted photos of the meals to her blog. 

What drew me to this article was it was yet another perfect example of why we at FSD selected students as one of our 20 Most Influential. Payne, who started the blog as a writing assignment to raise money for her school’s meal program, doesn’t criticize the meals like a normal nine year old would. She’s thoughtful about what she says, and says she wanted to find out things like where her chicken was raised. Payne was engaging with her meal program and wanted to learn more about the food she was eating. How could anyone find fault with that?

Well, someone did. According to Today, town officials in Lochgilphead, where Payne lives, were not amused by the blog and banned her from posting photos of her school lunches. The officials said in a statement that the photos were misleading and had caused distress to the cafeteria staff.

This really got me going. As a journalist, I deplore censorship. If you don’t like the way you’re being portrayed in the media, change that perception. I have no idea if the cafeteria workers in Payne’s school had anything to do with the photo ban, but shame on whomever instigated this ban. This was a perfect opportunity for the cafeteria staff to work with Payne, to find out what she liked and didn’t like and how they could work with her to improve all of the students’ meal enjoyment. Instead, the incident started a worldwide outcry that made the school’s meal program look bad, regardless of the role, if any, they played in the photo ban.

Following the public outcry, the ban was lifted and Payne is back to sharing photos of her school meals. You can check out her blog here.  

Keywords: 
social media

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
sam kass peter romeo

We’ve heard it time and again—millennials are extremely conscious about what they eat. They want to know what is in their food, where it is from, how it was made and more. And, as we’re learning, Gen Zers are even more aware and information-demanding about the food they eat than their older counterparts.

Hitting those higher-quality food standards is no easy feat. But it’s becoming a must, said chef Sam Kass—known for being the White House chef for the Obamas, a senior White House policy advisor on nutrition policy while he cooked, and currently the senior food analyst for NBC News...

Sponsored Content
chicken veggies recipes

From Tyson Food Service.

With operators becoming increasingly strapped for time and labor, it’s a strain to prepare every aspect of a menu item back-of-house or keep the menu populated with a variety of options. While it doesn’t mean they have to cut corners when developing new items, operators can use more versatile items that are simple enough to apply across the menu to save on labor and cost as well as be more efficient.

With versatile proteins, operators can increase menu opportunities without kitchen complexity, and drive new customer traffic or increase the number...

Industry News & Opinion

An audit into Kennesaw State University’s dining services revealed the university accrued roughly $2 million from off-campus students paying for meal plans as part of their semester fees, according to a report by Fox 5 Atlanta .

Meal plans at the Kennesaw, Ga., university are automatically assessed to students whether they live on campus or not. The university does not refund unused meals, draining the pockets of commuter students each semester.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we pay all this tuition and then we’re here paying another big fee,” commuter student Emmanuel...

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

FSD Resources