Va. administrators score a Muzzle award for spiking PE editorial

Albemarle High School joined the ranks of the Obama administration, airport security and the Smithsonian on Wednesday – and not in a good way.

Administrators at the Charlottesville, Va., school were given a Jefferson Muzzle award Wednesday following a 2010 spat involving the school’s student newspaper.

As the SPLC reported in June, copies of The Revolution were confiscated and destroyed because of an editorial suggesting student athletes be able to opt out of PE class. Student editors said principal Jay Thomas made the decision after receiving complaints from PE teachers. Journalism adviser Kim Aust also said people wouldn’t have time to respond to the piece because it appeared in the last issue of the school year.

The editorial was eventually allowed to run – five months later.

The Muzzles are given annually by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. The awards are designed to draw attention to the abridgment of free speech and press rights and raise awareness of the First Amendment.

Among the other 2011 recipients are the Obama administration and BP for restricting media access to the gulf oil spill, in addition to the Virginia Department of Corrections for banning a legal self-help book at prisons.