The staff of Northwest public schools’ 54-year-old Saga newspaper was informed on 19 May of the paper’s elimination, the Grand Island Independent reported.

Three days earlier, the newspaper had printed its June edition, which included an article titled Pride and prejudice: LGBTQIA+ on the origins of pride month and the history of homophobia.

It also included an editorial opposing a Florida law that bans some lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity and dubbed by critics as the Don’t Say Gay law.

Officials overseeing the district, which is based in Grand Island, have not said when or why the decision was made to eliminate the student paper.

But an email from a school employee to the Independent cancelling the student paper’s printing services on 22 May said it was “because the school board and superintendent are unhappy with the last issue’s editorial content”.

“It was the first time that the school had officially been, like, ‘We don’t really want you here,’” Pennell said. “You know, that was a big deal for me.”

The paper’s demise also came reprimanded for publishing students’ preferred pronouns and a month after its staff was names.

Emma Smith, Saga’s assistant editor in 2022, said the student paper was informed that the ban on preferred names was made by the school board.

That decision directly affected Saga staff writer Marcus Pennell, a transgender student, who saw his byline changed in the June issue, against his wishes, to his female birth name.