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Lack of leadership, accountability and transparency is sad
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Dear Editor,
It was sad to see in your article “Raising Their Voices: Students Protest District’s Decision” that the lack of leadership, accountability and transparency by superintendent Brad Reed has caused an already difficult situation for a GBHS student to be made even worse. No student or parent should have to face a situation like this publicly in order to find justice.
I was shocked to read the details of Reed’s efforts to silence the voices of students. However, I was not surprised. I too faced Reed’s attempts to stifle students’ rights 13 years ago when I was a student at Oskaloosa High School. Reed tried to illegally censor my student newspaper article about teacher reassignments. He handled the situation very unprofessionally and tried to intimidate me – a high school student – from voicing my opinions and exercising my legal rights. (Details of my experience are available online “Student Learns Censorship Lesson Firsthand” The Lawrence Journal-World, June 6, 2003.)  
It appears from your article that Reed is yet again trying to intimidate students from expressing their opinions. School administrators may try to fight or ignore, but student voices cannot and will not be silenced.  
Teachers and school administrators need to embrace and encourage free speech among students. Part of educating students is teaching them how to stand up for what they believe in, find their voice, and pursue their passions. I was fortunate enough to have teachers who taught me these valuable lifelong lessons. I hope that the students fighting to voice their opinions at GBHS have found the same.   
To the students at GBHS, you are an inspiration. Your courage to stand up and support your classmate in the face of intimidation shows the power of students uniting together. Recent examples at the University of Missouri and other college campuses across the country are proof that students can be a mighty force for change. You are a powerful voice for justice. Continue to stand up for what you believe in. You have more people cheering you on than you realize.
Lacey Sen (Hanson)
Baltimore, MD
Oskaloosa High School graduate 2003