Scottish council drops ban on student's lunch blog

A Scottish council has backtracked on its decision to ban a school girl from posting photos and ratings of her school cafeteria meals on her blog.

A Scottish council has backtracked on its decision to block a school girl from posting photos and ratings of her school cafeteria meals on her blog.

Martha Payne began posting her food critiques to the blog six weeks ago. The nine-year-old student attends school in Lochgilphead, a coastal town about 210 kilometres west of Edinburgh

Martha Payne, 9, seen in this photo from Gordon Jack/ posted on The Guardian's website, can blog again about the lunches at her school cafeteria after Argyll and Bute Council lifted its ban on her critiques. (Gordon Jack/ Guardian)

In a Thursday blog post, Martha said she was pulled out of math class and told she could no longer photograph her lunches. Her father Dave later clarified that the gag had been placed by Argyll and Bute Council.

The blog had attracted about two million hits and raised about £2, 000 for charity, Martha's father said. Amid a flurry of media interest in the ban on Martha's blogging, donations to the charity have apparently jumped to almost £27,000.

Argyll and Bute Council, in a statement posted on its website Friday, said the Payne's photographs "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.

The council said it has avoided criticism of anyone involved in the blog "for obvious reasons despite a strongly held view that the information presented in it misrepresented the options and choices available to pupils, however, this escalation means we had to act to protect staff from the distress and harm it was causing."

A second statement posted on the Argyll and Bute website by Councillor Roddy McCuish, the leader of the council, overturned the ban on Payne's photographs.

"There is no place for censorship in this Council and never will be whilst I am leader," McCuish said.

"I have therefore requested senior officials to consider immediately withdrawing the ban on pictures from the school dining hall until a report can be considered by Elected Members. This will allow the continuation of the 'Neverseconds' blog written by an enterprising and imaginative pupil, Martha Payne which has also raised lots of money for charity," McCuish said.

With files from The Associated Press