In the editorial "School Papers and Student Rights" {Jan. 15}, I detected the voice of innumerable adult journalists who remember from their own high school days the clashes between irate school administrators and crusading adolescents.

In fact, the controversial Supreme Court decision that the rights of children in school do not parallel those of grown-ups in other circumstances struck a chord among all of us former high school newspaper editors. We recall painful scenes as we invoked the Bill of Rights, our acne-pocked faces flushed, our youthful voices cracked. We fume as we see again entire editions of our sweat and tears confiscated and destroyed. We stand sullen and unbowed, called on the carpet for the rest of eternity, blasted by principal and faculty. We wince, remembering their verbal thrashing, phrases like "rabble-rousing," "poor judgment" and "wretchedly poor taste" -- actual quotations from the riot act once read to me by outraged teachers in my mid-1940s high school days.

Now, looking back 40 years, I marvel at the tolerance of today's school systems. At least the principal in the court case was willing to allow an article on the general subject of teen-age pregnancy. My own unassuming editorial (circa 1946) and a speech delivered at a schoolwide assembly were not concerned with sex (no one dared write about that), but rather were a spirited plea for a less prisonlike atmosphere, more student and less teacher rule and a student representative on the Board of Education. Nevertheless such heresy from a 17-year-old was unpardonable, and I was pilloried, insulted and threatened by a parade of indignant teachers who demanded, "Who do you think you are?"

Reading with disbelief in 1988 about school paper interviews with girls discussing their "sexual preferences, methods of birth control and pregnancies," I cannot help raging at the random discrimination of Time. I was born too soon, damn it.

Even at the University of Maryland in the late '40s, we student journalists got away with little. In those days, before the 1954 Supreme Court decision struck down segregation, the campus newspaper ran a series of bland articles on Free State colleges, including a dispassionate study of the inequities at Queen Anne's College, a black institution on the Eastern Shore. How the Greek columns of the administration building trembled at our incipient student anarchy! How the Diamondback editor and staff quivered and quaked, fearing the terrible swift sword of retribution! And how blissfully the rest of the student body ignored the whole thing!

The Post really shouldn't worry that safe student newspapers don't generate a spirit of inquiry or inspire students to broaden their outlook. What was true in the 1940s is true today. At any high school the goody-goodies don't rock the boat to begin with, the great somnolent masses are getting their Z's in front of the TV, and the unrepentant rebels will still be writing letters to the editor 40 years hence. MOLLEE KRUGER Rockville