Schools top list of Thomas Jefferson Center’s Muzzle Award winners

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has named its 2013 Jefferson Muzzle Award winners, and not surprisingly, quite a few of the dubious awards went to schools and policies that affect students. The awards go to those deemed to have committed some of the most atrocious and ridiculous violations of the First Amendment over the last year.

Among this year’s winners are:

  • A Pennsylvania school board that said a book featuring an unclothed cowboy (whose nether parts are never shown, and who wants to get his clothes back) must be removed from an elementary school library.
  • A high school principal who withheld a valedictorian’s diploma and demanded an apology after she said the word “hell” instead of “heck” in her graduation speech also made the winner’s list. (The TJC points out that the district’s mascot is a red devil, making the situation even more ironic).
  • The Oklahoma City school district, for enforcing a ban on clothing featuring sports teams other than Oklahoma college teams.

The North Carolina general assembly also makes the list for its anti-cyberbullying statute that makes it a crime for students to “intimidate or torment” school employees online, even if what they post is truthful.

The awards aren’t all for school officials, though. The Idaho State Liquor Division received one for banning Five Wives Vodka from the shelves of liquor stores. The Liquor Division said the product, which has a label depicting a row of 19th century-styled women cradling kittens in their dress skirts in a way some could find suggestive, is “offensive” to women.

Judge the entire group of Muzzle Award winners for yourself here.