Editor's note: We received a Facebook post from Andrea Roush of Pepperell stating that this letter to the editor was submitted to us back in June and we didn't run it. I don't know what happened to the letter but we are sorry it wasn't published. Here it is, better late than never.
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen over the front page of the Pepperell Free Press on June 8, 2012. I full-heartedly believe that high school commencement is a wonderful achievement for these young men and women -- one of which each should be extremely proud. What I do NOT believe, however, is that it is appropriate to place a picture of three graduates lighting cigars ANYWHERE in the paper, let alone on the FRONT page with the headline for commencement. Doing so degrades the achievement and sends a VERY POOR message to our youth. I was appalled that a community newspaper would promote such an unhealthy habit to our youth -- a habit that costs this country a very significant amount of money in health-care costs every year. I have always enjoyed receiving the Pepperell Free Press, and it has been my go-to paper for community information and events; however, if this is the direction that the publication is heading, I will no longer be able to do so. I cannot allow my children to entertain the thought that such behaviors are acceptable, or healthy, because they saw it on the front page of the paper. As parents, we are doing everything in our power to raise socially conscious