High school yearbooks have long been considered mementos of our past, a way to remember high school experiences and friends. However, last year in some local schools, high school yearbooks became a source of contention between advisers and school officials when the yearbooks at several local high schools were found to contain obscene language and racist remarks.

Should there be guidelines for what can and cannot be printed in a yearbook?

There should be guidelines for what can or cannot be printed in a yearbook. "There is nothing that you cannot print, no matter how hurtful or offensive or foul" is not an acceptable policy, especially when it pertains to high school yearbooks.

Basically, obscenity, lewd sexual references and racism in any form must be prohibited. They are only signs of a weak vocabulary, disrespect for others and prejudice -- all of which society would be better off without.

This does not mean that yearbooks should only contain rosy pictures and smiling faces everywhere. The yearbook staff may well choose to publish an article on group fights in the cafeteria. But this can be done without obscenity or racist remarks.

Yearbooks are memories. One's yearbook is often treasured and read throughout the years. Ten or fifteen years from now, I want to be able to show my children "what mommy's high school was like" without being afraid that they will ask "What does that mean?"

Yes, there should be guidelines. HELENE YAN Oxon Hill

I can imagine myself, sixty years from now, snuggling on the couch with my grandchildren, showing off my old high school yearbook. I'd be dreamily reminiscing to them about what it was like when their old grandma was a girl when, to my utmost embarrassment, one of the young twins notices a racial slur between the "Ins 'n' Outs" and the senior pictures.

"You mean you didn't know about equal rights back then, Grandma?," the eight-year-old asks, surprised.

"Of course they did, honey," I assure him, "but . . . "

But what? But it's probably just a misprint? But no one really notices these things anyway? But no one did anything to make sure that comments like these and others would not blemish the pages of my yearbook?

" . . . I don't know," I say quietly, turning the page. ROBYN ALCOCK Central

Although some high schools have been cited for either obscenity or racist remarks in their yearbooks, the yearbooks were a mere reflection of the thoughts and feelings of the students and should not be restricted.

Even though we do not agree with another's views, it is not right to restrict them because they are different from ours. If there were guidelines for what can and cannot be printed in yearbooks, it would restrict the freedom of speech of the students. We can not allow the freedom of speech to become restricted.

Further, someone should use the controversial comments to evaluate the mentality of the students behind them. It is obviously a cry for more education to disperse an ignorance that still lives.

There should not be guidelines for what can or cannot be printed in a yearbook. DIA NEWMAN Parkdale

There should definitely be guidelines for what can be printed in a high school yearbook. In a civilized society, there must be parameters beyond which a group or an individual cannot reach. True, a yearbook reflects the current mores and opinions of the students; however, even students should not be immune to good taste.

Reflecting biases, prejudice and fear is obscene and unnecessary language has no place in what is, essentially, a book of memories. One's very last moments of high school should include a yearbook composed of joy and sentimentality and not one filled with negative and insulting language; who would want to browse through such a book twenty years from now? And, finally, who would want one's children to know their parents treasured such a book? TIFFANY BENDER Capital Christian

I believe that there should be guidelines for what is printed in a yearbook. Why should I have to read disgusting little phrases in code in a book I will want to look back at in later years? A yearbook is supposed to reflect a year of school. Once you buy it, you can put whatever you want in it . . . write whatever you want in it.

Guidelines should be determined by the yearbook coordinator. If there is something he isn't sure about -- don't print it! MICHELLE PULOS Friendly

Students Speak Out: Topic for Nov. 1

Many of the people who have been identified as heroes of young people have later turned out to have personal failings which tarnish their reputations and standing as "heroes." Recently, baseball legend Pete Rose was imprisoned for tax evasion and censured in baseball for illegal gambling; both John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. have been implicated in the media as men who frequently cheated on their wives; District Mayor Marion Barry was arrested and tried on drug charges.

Have these incidents affected the way you look at heroes? Do you still have any heroes? Who are they and why?

Written responses should be no more than 150 words in length and typed or written legibly. We are also interested in receiving political-style cartoons on the topic. Cartoons should be drawn on posterboard.

Students should submit their responses by Oct. 22 with name, age, grade and school included on the work. We will publish selected responses in the Nov. 1 edition of the Maryland Weekly.