We ran a post about 8 school lunches. Here's why we took it down.

To the Upworthy Community —

We'd like to set the record straight about a story on school lunches that we posted to our Facebook page this week.


The story, titled “These School Lunches From Around The World Should Embarrass The U.S.," was originally written on Feb. 3, 2015. Yesterday, May 3, the story was reposted again to our Facebook page.

The post was based on a Tumblr post and slideshow created by Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain that has been described as a “healthy fast-food start-up," based in the Northeast.

Since its initial publication, other media outlets, like Mother Jones, have covered some of the problems with the source material from Sweetgreen, explaining how the re-creations of these lunches are not necessarily representative of typical meals in each country.

Sweetgreen said in its own original post (bold added):

“These images are not intended to be exact representations of school lunches, but instead, are meant to portray different types of foods found in cafeterias around the world. To create this series, we evaluated government standards for school lunch programs, regional cuisine and food culture, and photos that real students had taken of their meals and shared online."

While we included that context with our readers, upon further review, we felt that the overall impression the post gave was different; the way the images were presented ultimately was misleading. School lunches around the world vary widely, and these images alone, without additional context, don't paint a complete picture.

To correct the record, we have taken down the school lunch post and have included a screenshot below for transparency.

Lastly, several people wrote to us to say they believed the piece was a paid-for advertisement from Sweetgreen or an industry lobbying group. It was not.

While Upworthy sometimes works with companies and accepts payment to promote stories from other organizations, we're really selective about our partnerships, and we'll always be upfront with you about them. The post about the school lunch photos was one we wrote independently, and I take full responsibility for its content.

Thank you to all our readers who spoke up in the comments to help set the record straight. As we do with all corrections, we feel that this post should merit as much attention as the original post, so we'll be posting this to Facebook and Twitter as well.

Sincerely,

Amy O'Leary
Editorial Director





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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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