Friday, May 25, 2012

The power of public protest

Unsatisfied with the quality of the lunches at your elementary school?

Traditional adult strategy: Discuss the issue privately with the principal. Maybe ask about it at a PTA meeting. At worst, write letters to the superintendent and school board. When nothing changes, at least you tried.

Nine-year-old strategy: Start a blog. Post photos of lunch daily, and rate the lunches for tastiness, quantity, healthiness, and number of stray hairs. Watch blog go viral and receive (reportedly) over a million hits. Less than two weeks later, enjoy the school’s new policy of serving unlimited fruit, salad, and bread.

At least the kids are learning something.

Of course, we can only speculate about how this would have played out in America (as opposed to Scotland, where this nine-year-old lives). My guess is the school would have responded more like this:

1. Discipline the child for disrespectful internet behavior.
2. Ban cameras from the lunchroom.
3. Patiently explain that school menu decisions are driven by higher forces beyond the control of the local school system.
4. Back down on disciplinary action after the ACLU threatens a First Amendment lawsuit.
5. Wait for the whole thing to blow over, then continue serving the same lunches as before.

But even in America, public protest is still the percentage play, isn’t it?


Chris said...

Also, people around the world have been sending this nine-year-old pictures of their school lunches, and some of them look really extraordinary, especially compared to the ones here in Iowa City (e.g., nachos with cheese sauce in a paper bowl). Check out this one from Taiwan.

FedUpMom said...

Wow. That Taiwanese lunch looks delish!