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School Cuts Page Out of Yearbook Before Distribution

May 20, 1986

FARMINGTON, Ark. (AP) _ High school yearbooks were distributed with one page cut out after the superintendent ruled inappropriate an editorial calling the school stagnant and a ″prison of supposedly learning.″

The Farmington High School yearbook adviser, librarian Janice Boersma, ordered the page cut at the direction of superintendent Myrl Massie, who said the editorial by 12th-grade editor Heather Inman was inappropriate.

″It was done for the purpose of trying to prevent some real harsh feelings from the staff and teachers,″ Massie said. He said teachers and administrators objected to the editorial, although Ms. Boersma did not.

Miss Inman said she learned of the decision to censor the yearbook when she saw students with scissors cutting the page out of the book.

″I was just really shocked and hurt,″ she said. ″It kind of makes me ashamed that they would do that. I’m proud of my school, but I’m ashamed that they are not liberal enough to accept an editorial.″

The yearbook’s theme this year is ″We Love It,″ said Miss Inman, whose editorial was a short memoir of the school year in general terms and a look to the future: ″People tell me these are the best years of our lives. I ask them, how can high school be the end of your best years when the best is yet to come? There is a whole new world out there just waiting on us. High school is just the start.″

The editorial says some students and graduates dwell on the past ″either in regret or ‘remembering when.’ ...I hope they keep it in some deep, dark closet, stuffed in some forgotten box, covered in dust. Never let the fact that they came from a stagnant school ever hinder them. ...To the upcoming students, the only advice I can give it to bear with it, your time will come and you will be set free too. Free from this prison of supposedly learning.″

Bob Fisher, ombudsman for the state attorney general’s office, said Monday he did not believe the officials had the right to remove the page.

″The courts have generally held that student journalists have the same rights as other journalists,″ he said. ″You have the same rights no matter what level you operate on.″

Ms. Boersma declined to comment in a telephone interview Monday, saying, ″Letting it die is the best way to handle this.″

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