Zachary Kopplin of Baton Rouge has won a Hugh M. Heffner First Amendment Award for his efforts to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, which he describes as “stealth legislation” to promote the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public school science classes.
Kopplin organized a movement that included students, legislators, 78 Nobel laureate scientists and major science and educator organizations. More than 70,000 people supported the repeal.
Kopplin, a 2011 graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, is now a freshman at Rice University in Houston.
Kopplin was one of six people who received the award. The others include Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency analyst, who reported the agency for massive waste; Rebecca MacKinnon, Bernard Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and expert on global Internet policy, free expression, and the impact of digital technologies on human rights; and Stanley Sheinbaum, a Los Angeles activist who received a lifetime achievement award for his work on issues of civil rights, civil liberties, economic justice, police reform and world peace.
The awards were established in 1979 in conjunction with Playboy magazine’s 25th anniversary.