Young Martha Payne went to school today as usual – and was taken out of Maths class to go to the Head Teacher’s office.
She was then told she was not allowed to take any more photographs of her school dinners for her now internationally renowned NeverSeconds blog.
The reason given was some headline in a newspaper – to which Martha’s laser-like but bewildered response is that she writes her blog (and is responsible for that) but she’s not responsible for what someone else writes in a newspaper.
However, her blog for 14th June is headed ‘Goodbye’.
The machine wins.
Martha’s father, Dave, has added a note to his daughter’s blog to make it clear that the staff at the school have been very supportive and that the decision was not theirs.
Mr Payne has put it on the record that he contacted the council to discuss the matter when he learned from Marth what had happened – and was told that the decision had been theirs.
Martha had been using her blog to raise money through JustGiving for Argyll’s signature charity – Mary’s Meals, feeding the world’s hungry children through their schools. This strategy means that children in less developed countries have two good reasons to keep going to school t0 to get a nutritious meal for the day and to get an education for the future.
So far this young girl has single-handedly turned the negative of poor schools meals in Lochgilphead to the positive of raising nearly £2,000 for this hugely worthwhile charity to feed children properly in places like Haiti’s Cite Soleil slum – the world’s worst; and Malawi.
Both Martha and her father tonight are clearly saddest that this find raising effort has also been brought to an end.
This incident has proved just what a challenge the new Argyll and Bute council administration faces in trying to turn around an almost helplessly self-destructive culture at Kilmory.
This entire saga could not have been handled more badly from start to Stalinist finish. Yet many of the officers concerned will not personally be like that. Their job has somehow distorted them.
This is a diseased situation that, in everyone’s interests, must be treated. Who has the skills, the will and the authority to do it?
Will the new administration be able to sustain the will to change this for as long as it looks like it may take?
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