Wyoming high school paper confiscated for pro/con article on elderly

About 400 copies of Equus were confiscated at Cody High School after the principal feared the community would have a negative reaction to a satirical opinion article.

The newspaper contained a pro/con commentary that asked, “Should you respect your elders?” In one of the articles, two student reporters humorously wrote why elderly citizens should not have special privileges, editor Adam Nace said.

“The average citizen deserves as much respect as an elderly person because first, senior citizens are the worst drivers on the face of the earth. Second, they seem to be grumpy. And third, senior citizens expect special treatment wherever they go,” the students’ wrote.

In contrast, two other students argued why it was important to respect elderly citizens. “It is not just respecting your elders, it is showing maturity and compassion. They are just people; people who deserve our respect, if not for the deeds they have done, for the bravery when they were young, for their strength, then for the fact that they have lived in this world longer than us.”

Shortly after the issue was distributed on Dec. 7, principal Butch Reder began receiving complaints from school workers, including one employee who was in tears. Reder said he collected as many copies as he could find. Adviser Mike Riley said 400 copies were probably confiscated and destroyed from the 1,000-copy press run.

“The article in the paper was just inappropriate,” Reder said. “You’re talking about people in our community who give a lot of money to our school.”

Nace said he was shocked when he heard the paper was pulled. The students quickly regrouped and published another issue on Dec. 21.

Despite his decision to confiscate the paper, Reder met with the journalism class that publishes the newspaper to emphasize the students’ First Amendment rights. Reder said he had no interest in reviewing the paper before it went to press and he volunteered to pay for the next three issues. He told the Report, however, that would not stop him from confiscating the paper in the future.

“If that paper comes out again and they’re over the line