I remember as a fresh-faced sophomore receiving a sheet of the top 100 “most challenged” books ever to be published, many of which have been staple readings in our English department’s curriculum, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Fahrenheit 451”, and, probably the most challenged on that list, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. We even encourage our very own “banned books week,” during which these challenged books are put on display in our library.
Two years ago, our then Editor-in-Chief of “The Colonel,” Abby Bora, published a spread about marijuana, taking multiple surveys that gave the facts about use of the drug in our school. Last year, Leslie Rowland did her main feature on the sexual tendencies of the students in our school and used what some people consider to be a shocking cover, that being two pairs of feet underneath some sheets.
I, on the other hand, have no scandalous or shocking center spread about drugs or sex, nor do I feel the need to re-evaluate valuable research conducted by my predecessors. But what I do want to take advantage of is talking about something that has come up in our very own journalism class: should some of the things we cover be censored?
To me, the short answer is no. Of course not. Not only does it muffle the student voice in our school, but I believe that if we start to censor things that are especially relevant to the student body but may be considered offensive to adults, we are in part giving up the privilege of living in a country where we have the ability to freely discuss the issues of today and what is actually going on in student life, a right that they have that should be made clear to the students.
To say that we shouldn’t write about sex and drugs used by the students, when a high percentage of the student body are in fact participating in these activities, is to skim over an issue that affects many people in the school. Not only that, but these topics are what the majority of newspapers like the “New York Times”, the “Atlantic”, and the “Washington Post” publish regularly, topics that, at the very core, affect humanity, the good and the bad side. These publications may be considered “real newspapers”, but should someone’s definition of a real newspaper disqualify “The Colonel” as a valid source of information just because it is a high school publication?
Despite the fact that we do have an April Fool’s posting, what we report on during every other part of the year is relevant and real. We give students the opportunity to find out more about local charities and ways they can help in the community; we give students attention when they’ve accomplished something great for the school; we give students a voice when it comes to opinion articles about racial tension and gender roles. If we don’t start caring and making a difference at this point in our lives, I venture to argue that we never will.
Jamie Bogue, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Jamie Bogue is the Editor-in-Chief for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She is a drum major for marching band, sings in Ledyard Carolers, and is attending Liberty University next fall.