Every once in a while kids must teach parents a lesson, and right now class is in session in Lake Oswego.

As originally reported last week by the Lake Oswego Review, the Waluga Junior High School Parent-Teacher Organization has its dander up about the Jan. 13 edition of the Newspacer, Lakeridge High School's student newspaper.

The four-member Waluga PTO didn't like that the Newspacer printed an opinion piece by senior Tyler Smith in which he interviewed students who use psychedelic drugs and wrote that he didn't think psychedelics should be linked with other drugs. Now the PTO Roguishly wants changes that include ensuring there's balance in the paper's opinion pages whenever someone says anything controversial.

Mike Hiestand, legal consultant for the Virginia-based Student Press Law Center, calls this a good guideline if it's "strictly for aspirational purposes." But he says it isn't easily enforced.

We'll go further. This was an opinion piece. Who gets to decide which opinions need balance and which are OK run unopposed? And really, will one teenager's voice in a student paper outweigh the constant chorus of public-service announcements, D.A.R.E. programs and parents shouting, "DON'T DO DRUGS!"?

The Waluga PTO also wants the paper, which has a faculty adviser, submitted to the principal or a faculty member for review before publication. As Hiestand says, "Prior review is bad journalism."

We agree.


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