High school publications have long triggered controversy, court fights and even warring state laws over teen limits in Missouri and Kansas.
The issue flickers again in an article in the new Shawnee Mission West High School yearbook. "Mary Jane Doe" tells how friends bond by smoking marijuana every day.
"John Marley" says that the synthetic pot substitute K2 — legal at the time the book went to press but illegal in Kansas now —"hits you a lot cleaner and faster."
The article does not suggest any downside to puffing away.
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School officials said they had received one or two complaints about the two-page spread.
Journalism teacher Amy Morgan, adviser to the 45-student staff, said the article in the yearbook did not run as intended.
"That particular story got published in not-publishable shape," she said. "I read an early draft and suggested revisions (like more objectivity) that just never happened."
In the crush to finish the product, a student just forgot, she said. But Morgan noted that Kansas law made it difficult for her to quash a student story.
That 1992 law came in response to a landmark 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Missouri case that sharply reduced tolerance for student expression.
Since that ruling, Kansas is among at least seven states that have passed laws to strongly protect student expression.
Under Kansas law, officials can only suppress publication for reasons such as libel, slander, obscenity, disruption of school activity or matter that "encourages, commends or promotes conduct that is defined by law as a crime."
In the Shawnee Mission West article, what could be sticky is whether the article promotes marijuana or just honestly reports what is happening with some students and pot.
Even if students made a mistake, that is part of learning, said University of Kansas journalism lecturer Jeff Browne, who is also director of a statewide group of school journalism teachers and their students.