The Elephant in the Room: Florida School Revokes The Parking Privileges Of Student With Trump Display On Truck

Tyler Maxwell

We recently discussed the case of a Louisiana high school senior who had his parking space mural to President Donald Trump painted over by his school. Now a Florida senior has an equally troubling free speech case involving the Volusia County School District. Tyler Maxwell is suing the District after it barred him from parking his pickup truck with a large elephant in the back featuring Trump’s name.  The District declared that such “political statements” are now banned.The school district’s position is at odds with cases protecting non-disruptive political statements or symbols. Many of us in the free speech community have long complained that the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District is often dismissed in cases addressing the free speech rights of students. The famous decision declared that students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Yet, school officials routinely try to regulate speech. Indeed, we just saw a Vermont district fire a principal for questioning the BLM movement on Facebook.

The controversy is a classic example of how school officials have become emboldened in acts of censorship and speech regulation. We have been discussing the alarming rise of speech limitations and sanctions imposed by school officials. We have seen a steady erosion of the free speech rights of students in the last decade. The Supreme Court accelerated that trend in its Morse decision. Former JDHS Principal Deb Morse suspended a student in 2002 during the Olympic Torch Relay for holding up a 14-foot banner across from the high school that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” The case ultimately led to the Supreme Court which ruled in Morse v. Frederick ruling in 2007 for the Board — a decision that I strongly disagreed with and one that has encouraged over-reaching by school officials into protected areas.  Cheerleaders are expected to conform their free speech to accept positions or risk removal from their teams and even liking images on social media can get students suspended.

We have seen school officials even crackdown on bumper stickers on cars.

Maxwell not only was barred from showing his elephant but he was barred from parking on school grounds.

A judge has imposed a temporary restraining order against the District to allow Maxwell (and his elephant) to return to the parking lot pending consideration of his case.

Nancy Wait of Volusia County Schools declared:

“The school board has an obligation to provide politically neutral campuses for all students,” Wait wrote. “We allow political expression by students in the form of a t-shirt or bumper sticker. But large signage is a different situation. A passerby could interpret a large sign in a school parking lot to be an endorsement by the school district. We don’t allow our parking lot to be used for political statements.”

I do not see why this elephant is disruptive. Indeed, I find it quite impressive. This is an 18-year-old senior who will be voting for the first time this year. He is showing an excitement and engagement that we should be fostering. Why is that a bad thing? Instead, the District is teaching students to live with censorship and speech controls.

It is time we have a discussion of the elephant in the room in education from K-12 to colleges.  We are embracing censorship as a value while increasingly treating free speech as inherently dangerous or destabilizing. That is one lesson we should not be teaching to a new generation of citizens.

211 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room: Florida School Revokes The Parking Privileges Of Student With Trump Display On Truck”

  1. My only question is: does the school also ban supporters of Biden with big Jackasses on the back of pick up trucks? Regardless of the outcome, the student in question wins in this case because he will not see his case resolved until after the election. Then it is moot. I wonder when schools lost any sense of intelligence.

  2. District sits between Daytona Beach and Ocala National forest. As for the District have they applied that edict fairly and evenly? How much warning was given to the staff, students, and local area? Iti’s very anti-American but I’ll give them a chance.

    That’s the meaning of being a Constitutional Centrist Citizen in a Constitutiona Republic instead of a Regressive Socialist with a foreign ideology.

  3. Wall Street Journal Was Supposed To Break Hunter Biden Story

    But Giuliani Went To N.Y. Post Without Consulting

    WSJ Left In Lurch As Giuliani’s Story Proved Impossible To Verify

    By early October, even people inside the White House believed President Trump’s re-election campaign needed a desperate rescue mission. So three men allied with the president gathered at a house in McLean, Va., to launch one.

    The host was Arthur Schwartz, a New York public relations man close to President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr. The guests were a White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann, and a former deputy White House counsel, Stefan Passantino, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

    Mr. Herschmann knew the subject matter they were there to discuss. He had represented Mr. Trump during the impeachment trial early this year, and he tried to deflect allegations against the president in part by pointing to Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. More recently, he has been working on the White House payroll with a hazy portfolio, listed as “a senior adviser to the president,” and remains close to Jared Kushner.

    The three had pinned their hopes for re-electing the president on a fourth guest, a straight-shooting Wall Street Journal White House reporter named Michael Bender. They delivered the goods to him there: a cache of emails detailing Hunter Biden’s business activities, and, on speaker phone, a former business partner of Hunter Biden’s named Tony Bobulinski. Mr. Bobulinski was willing to go on the record in The Journal with an explosive claim: that Joe Biden, the former vice president, had been aware of, and profited from, his son’s activities. The Trump team left believing that The Journal would blow the thing open and their excitement was conveyed to the president.

    As the Trump team waited with anticipation for a Journal exposé, the newspaper did its due diligence: Mr. Bender and Mr. Beckett handed the story off to a well-regarded China correspondent, James Areddy, and a Capitol Hill reporter who had followed the Hunter Biden story, Andrew Duehren. Mr. Areddy interviewed Mr. Bobulinski. They began drafting an article.

    Then things got messy. Without warning his notional allies, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now a lawyer for President Trump, burst onto the scene with the tabloid version of the McLean crew’s carefully laid plot. Mr. Giuliani delivered a cache of documents of questionable provenance — but containing some of the same emails — to The New York Post, a sister publication to The Journal in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Mr. Giuliani had been working with the former Trump aide Steve Bannon, who also began leaking some of the emails to favored right-wing outlets. Mr. Giuliani’s complicated claim that the emails came from a laptop Hunter Biden had abandoned, and his refusal to let some reporters examine the laptop, cast a pall over the story — as did The Post’s reporting, which alleged but could not prove that Joe Biden had been involved in his son’s activities.

    While the Trump team was clearly jumpy, editors in The Journal’s Washington bureau were wrestling with a central question: Could the documents, or Mr. Bobulinski, prove that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s lobbying? Or was this yet another story of the younger Mr. Biden trading on his family’s name — a perfectly good theme, but not a new one or one that needed urgently to be revealed before the election.

    Mr. Trump and his allies expected the Journal story to appear Monday, Oct. 19, according to Mr. Bannon. That would be late in the campaign, but not too late — and could shape that week’s news cycle heading into the crucial final debate last Thursday. An “important piece” in The Journal would be coming soon, Mr. Trump told aides on a conference call that day.

    Finally, Mr. Bobulinski got tired of waiting. “He got spooked about whether they were going to do it or not,” Mr. Bannon said.

    At 7:35 Wednesday evening, Mr. Bobulinski emailed an on-the-record, 684-word statement making his case to a range of news outlets. Breitbart News published it in full. He appeared the next day in Nashville to attend the debate as Mr. Trump’s surprise guest, and less than two hours before the debate was to begin, he read a six-minute statement to the press, detailing his allegations that the former vice president had involvement in his son’s business dealings.

    As the debate ended, The Wall Street Journal published a brief item, just the stub of Mr. Areddy and Mr. Duehren’s reporting. The core of it was that Mr. Bobulinski had failed to prove the central claim. “Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden,” The Journal reported.

    Asked about The Journal’s handling of the story, the editor in chief, Matt Murray, said the paper did not discuss its newsgathering. “Our rigorous and trusted journalism speaks for itself,” Mr. Murray said in an emailed statement.

    Edited From: “Trump Had One Last Story To Sell. The Wall Street Journal Wouldn’t Buy It”

    The New York Times, 10/25/20

    1. A lot of nonsense and diversion. The pertinent questions are:

      1) Has Joe Biden denied the computer belonged to Hunter?
      2) Has Joe Biden stated that any of the released material is not true?
      3) Has Joe Biden stated that anything CEO Tony Bobulinski said was false?

      We can ask a 4th question. How many times was the NYT or its anonymous sources correct about the Steele Dossier. That goes for the WP as well.

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