Annual Muzzle ‘awards’ go to alleged protest squelchers

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Texas principal accused of expelling a student who stayed seated during the Pledge of Allegiance. A Utah high school accused of censoring its student newspaper.

They are among the seven winners of this year’s Jefferson Muzzles, tongue-in-cheek awards bestowed annually by a free-speech group.

The Charlottesville, Virginia-based Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression announced the “winners” on Sunday.

The group said in a statement that 2017 was a “perilous year” for free speech in America. The center’s executive director Clay Hansen says the year will likely be remembered as one in which both protest speech and anti-protest rhetoric “rose to levels not seen in decades.”