RI prayer banner case student to get Playboy award

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - An atheist student who fought to have a prayer banner at her Rhode Island public high school removed is getting an award named for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

WPRO-AM reports ( http://bit.ly/10ngeRr) Jessica Ahlquist is among this year's winners of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards. She won in the education category for what a Tuesday news release calls her "courageous and successful lawsuit."

A May 22 reception is scheduled at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. An event publicist says Ahlquist will attend. Winners each get $5,000 and a plaque.

Ahlquist was threatened for challenging the Cranston school banner's constitutionality. She has spoken all over the United States about her legal fight. A humanist association raised $60,000 for a scholarship for her.

The Hefner awards were established in 1979 to honor people's contributions to protecting First Amendment rights.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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