NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne 'banned' from taking school dinner photos
Daily Record stooged it up for her then. No surprise there, what an awful headline!
Looking at the blog, with the exception of a couple of the meals, the majority are really not bad and get positive ratings from her.
Totally put in the shade by some of the overseas lunches sent in though!Posted 5 years agojonbaMember
Her dad actually praised the school.
I was expecting a series of dire looking meals, all deep fried 😉 but it didn’t look too bad.
Can’t imagine this going away as there are plenty of comments asking under what authority/law the council have banned her blog.
Council aren’t exactly a shining beacon of free speech eitherPosted 5 years agohighclimberMember
its very sad that the council find the need to censor (and it is censorship) this young girl from doing something as harmless as this.
I get the impression she didn’t have an agenda e.g. trying to highlight poor food standards etc, she was just trying to share her experiences with everone else which is what being a child is all about!
Sad, Very sad. Shame on the CouncilPosted 5 years ago
Can they actually stop her?
Is there actually laws, regulations or rules in place that can prevent a 9 year old girl from photographing her lunch and blogging about it?
If there is, those worried about the UK becoming a police state are too late, it’s already happened.Posted 5 years agoGrahamSSubscriber
most schools ban mobile phones/cameras on school premises quoting ‘child protection issues’
Look those school dinners have a right to privacy y’know. Who knows what despicable perverts might be fisting one off to a perfectly innocent candid shot of sticky toffee pudding with custard.Posted 5 years ago
Parents can take photo’s but kids can be banned from taking electronic goods to school which, effectively, bans photo’s.Posted 5 years ago
Interesting blog on the whole thing;
Food for thought
A simple photo.
Such a powerful thing. It can demonstrate bare, unpalatable truths. It can lead to a swift journey to the courtroom. It can certainly frighten the hell out of people, especially those in authority. And even more so when there are children involved.
You might have seen the storm erupt last night and this morning. Martha Payne, 9 year old blogger, had a regular audience for her blog reviewing school dinners. But after being taken aside by the school head, the will of the local council was brought to bear and she was told that she “could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.”
Cue instant outrage. Without doubt, the local authority should have known how the internet reacts to things like this. “Censorship”, “stifling of creativity” and “fear of being held to account” are some of the kinder things being thrown at Argyll & Bute today. Inevitably of course Martha’s blog is now one of the hottest properties online. This one is certainly not going to go away quietly.
But we haven’t seen the council’s side of things yet. That they were unprepared is a massive PR fail – completely inexcusable – and my heart goes out to the poor staff up there right now who are trying to ram a trillion gallons of shit back into the silo using their shoes as scoops.
Is there any defence for this sort of behaviour? For the communications cock-up, well no. Not really. (Unless we take into account the fact that all has not been well in the PR department at Argyll & Bute for some time. Remember this? Do they actually have any comms people at the moment?)
But in terms of why they might do such a thing? Quite possibly.
We don’t yet know what their arguments will be, and I am very keen to see them published. Remember that the only actual evidence so far is a child’s reporting of a headteacher’s words, plus a father’s statement that the council have confirmed “it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography”. Does that mean this is primarily about photo issues, rather than blogging per se? Maybe.
So what are the photo issues here that might be troubling the council? If I may, I’ll just park the “obvious” one – that they don’t want to be criticised publicly. The evidence so far is that there’s been some minor improvement, perhaps attributable to the blog. As such a stance would be frankly indefensible, I won’t waste time opening it up at all.
No, the relevant issues to my mind are some old favourites in relation to images and technology: place, control, liability and of course precedent.
Let’s take the last of those first, as it’s quite easy to engage with. Meet Trixabell. Trixabell is eight, and a highly groomed pageant queen. With a teeny bit of help from mum and dad, she launches PlaygroundBeautyTrix.com – a vlog that each day features her giving fashion and make-up tips to girls from 6 to 9, all filmed, yes, in the school playground. It’s a massive hit. (Can’t think why.) Habbo-hell duly follows.
The slow progression from kids being allowed to bring mobiles into school at all, then from texting to MMS, from IM to Facebook, from photo-blogging to… And thus runs the escalation argument. If you don’t have some pretty blunt lines about user generated content that puts the school at its very heart, things will get really sticky down the line. What sort of guidelines would be nuanced enough to do a “some things are ok to blog, some things aren’t” job? I wouldn’t fancy writing them (and I’ve written a few).
But beyond the “capability to broadcast” argument lie some about the nature of a photo itself. Where it’s taken matters. Quite sensibly, many non-public locations carry with them restrictions on photography. I very much imagine that schools fall into this category (let’s do the full public/private/who-paid-for-it space analysis another day, hey?). If I, as a photographer – even one visiting my kids – walked in during a normal school day and started firing off shots, even if they weren’t of children, I’d be very likely to be hauled up for it.
And I think that’s ok. A general presumption that “everywhere is ok for a photo” might satisfy some people’s urges for blanket transparency, but there’s no doubt that it would change the character of some spaces that we’d previously thought of as “reserved” in some way. (School as a “child reserve” – there’s a thought.)
So if the photo ban makes sense for a visiting adult, is it that easy to waive it for an incumbent child? Again, I’d love to see those guidelines. (NB. Martha refers frequently to her “camera” so I’ll assume the food pics were not taken with a phone, and therefore there’s no easy subsuming of this into the school policy on phones.)
Then there’s the issue of scale. Practically speaking, a snap taken on a phone and sent as an MMS is going to be hard to forbid in practice (assuming you allow phones into school – a distinct matter). And anyway, does a one-to-one passing on of a pic have the same risk profile as a blog upload which has a regular readership in the thousands? Definitely not, I’d say. Martha’s pics were of food, not people. But that doesn’t mean to say they might never be.
And then, when a livid parent wonders why their child’s identifiable face now features in tech and lifestyle reports across the world, the authority with responsibility for what happens in schools will have a shitstorm of another type to deal with. Which could get expensive for them, and in turn, their ratepayers.
Martha is starting to get pics from around the world – again, this extends the risk of “child’s photo taken and distributed without consent” to a whole new range of jurisdictions and pitfalls.
We can say of course that Martha is responsible and wouldn’t do this. That she’d keep her ever-growing platform safe and on-topic. But that’s placing an increasing responsibility on a 9 year old. And we have a whole separate area of ethics and law dealing with age-related responsibility, for very good reasons. Is it ethical to give her that responsibility, or to turn a blind eye when she takes it?
So. PR balls-up for Argyll & Bute? Yes, certainly.
Instant simplification of many complex issues facing a society adjusting to new networks and technologies? Maybe not.Posted 5 years ago
It’s not covered by legislation, but it doesn’t have to be. Attendance at the school is conditional on adherence to school policies, which can cover uniform, behaviour, use of mobile phones/cameras etc.
It’s not a public place, so it can set its own rules, just like you can in your house. Sure, in theory she could challenge these legally, but in practical terms, that isn’t going to happen. She’s just a nice young girl with a thought-provoking blog, rather than some campaigning firebrand who’ll fight to the bitter end to carry it on.
Shame though – as I said earlier, the Herald headline is the source of the bother, rather than the blog itself. The journos should be pretty ashamed of that one. It’s a pity the council can’t see past that to the honest intent of the blog.Posted 5 years agobruneepSubscriber
Martha Martha’s NeverSeconds blog started as a writing project with her father
A nine-year-old girl who became an internet hit after blogging about her school dinners claims she has been banned from taking photographs of her meals.
Martha Payne, from Argyll, began publishing photographs of her school canteen lunches on 30 April.
Her NeverSeconds blog got more than two million hits in just a few weeks.
But in a post published on Thursday evening, Martha said her headteacher told her not to take any more photos.
Under the headline “Goodbye”, the post stated: “This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.
“I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too.”
The council’s decision to impose the ban came after the Daily Record newspaper published a photograph of Martha alongside chef Nick Nairn under the headline “Time to fire the dinner ladies..”
Martha had been using the blog – which she started with the help of her father Dave – to raise money for the Mary’s Meals charity.
An explanatory note posted on the blog by her father read: “Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all.
“I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography.
“It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2,000 for charity is forced to end.”
Mr Payne later told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme his daughter was not happy about the council’s decision.
He added: “I can see that the photographs at the start didn’t look the most appetising, but Martha marked the last school meal 10 out of 10.
“I understand that it’s brought pressure from around the world and media interest, but that is really out of our control.
“But we are very supportive of the school – the fact that she has been encouraged to blog and she got permission to do this is testament to them.
“Everyone in the kitchens has been wonderful to Martha and she enjoys going into lunch every day.”
Martha’s blog was featured by media across the globe, with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tweeting: “Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going, big love from Jamie x.”
Photo of Martha’s school lunch Martha gave this cheeseburger a health rating of just 2/10
Among the pictures she published was one featuring her £2 lunch of a pizza slice, a croquette, sweetcorn and a cupcake.
Martha wrote: “I’m a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I can’t do it on one croquette. Do any of you think you could?”
She gave each meal a ‘food-o-meter’ and health rating, and also counted the number of mouthfuls it took for her to eat.
Argyll and Bute Council has so far not responded to Martha’s claim.
But in a statement released last month, it said: “Our school meal provision is fully compliant with nationally agreed nutritional standards.
“Young people make a choice from at least two meals and salad, vegetable, yoghurt and cheese options are available each day.”
Personally I think its a overreaction by the school. Daily record headline didn’t help with their headline tho.Posted 5 years ago
yes it has to comply with the law – but it can place more onerous restrictions on people on its premises.
where is the law that says yo have to wear school uniforms? Many schools insist on uniforms and the rights of schools to have policies like this enforced has been upheld in the courts.
A school is a publicly owned building – it is not open to the publicPosted 5 years ago
A school is not a public space, but it is a public building. The school is not at liberty to apply any rules it wishes on a whim, it has to comply with regulations and laws.
Your turn to point me at the UK legislation you have in mind which would restrict the school’s ability to set its own policies on photography.Posted 5 years ago
I’m with martinhutch – where’s legislation that says any publicly owned building is a public place and cannot have it’s own rules for people who work/visit it?
If a school needs to obey regulation and law how can they ever have a uniform policy that restricts what children wear?Posted 5 years ago
MSP – if you really want to know the minutae of law regarding either photography in schools or whether schools can restrict what electronic items pupils take onto the premises I think you can google it just as easily as any of us and I suggest you do.
Most ‘reasonable’ parents accept that
a) schools have rules that may differ from, say, the local shopping centre
b) that by sendign their child to the school they agree for their child to be bound by them.
now, there may not, as you say, be a law specifically banning photography of cooked food products in a school canteen by a pre-teen female in Scotland but it doesn’t mean that the school or LA can’t impose such a restriction as a condition of attending said school.
I think I’ll bow out at this point.Posted 5 years ago
but it doesn’t mean that the school or LA can’t impose such a restriction as a condition of attending said school.
It does if it restricts the pupils freedoms. There are many times when officials and organisations “get away” with applying rules that are actually nonsense, because they are seen as authoritative and knowledgeable about the situation, when in fact they are just making it up as they go along.Posted 5 years ago
As Wwaswas says. Its not rocket science.
You can be removed from a school for not obeying its rules. So long as the rules are not discriminatory or breach other law thenthts it.
There have been numerous challenges to this in the courts and the courts uphold the school rules normally.
there was a recent case where a muslim girl wanted to wear a particular formof dress that did not comply with the rules. Went to court, school rules upheld because according to various Islamic scholars that particular form of dress was not mandatory – she was allowed to cover her head and legs which is all that is required.
her freedom was restricted by school rules. The law lords upheld thisPosted 5 years agonealgloverMember
It does if it restricts the pupils freedoms
When I was at school (and over 16) I was legally allowed to smoke.
But the school decided to “restrict my freedom” And not even let me smoke when I was outside the buildings on the playing field.
Were they acting illegally ?Posted 5 years ago
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