Florida high school senior Tyler Maxwell will be allowed to express his support for the presidential candidate of his choice, thanks to a preliminary decision by a federal judge on Friday afternoon.
The decision comes only a day after the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit to defend Maxwell’s free speech rights against school administrators who revoked his parking privileges because he drove to school with a large red, white, and blue elephant statue emblazoned with the word “TRUMP” on the side. A school administrator pulled Maxwell out of his first-period class and ordered him to take the elephant home immediately. Upon returning to school in his truck (and the elephant) the next day, Maxwell was met by school officials who demanded that he relinquish his parking permit, and told him that he would not be allowed to park at the school again unless he removed the elephant.
Citing half a century of legal precedent holding that school students are entitled to constitutional protection for their free speech rights, lawyers with the Goldwater Institute, and American Freedom Network attorney Joseph van de Bogart, filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court, and asked the judge to bar the school from censoring Maxwell. On Friday, a judge granted a temporary restraining order, meaning that Maxwell can return to his school parking lot with his Donald Trump elephant statue in the back of his truck.
“We’re pleased that the court acted quickly to protect Tyler’s First Amendment rights,” said Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert, who represents Maxwell. “Tyler looks forward to returning to school on Monday.” Huebert also noted that the Institute will continue to pursue the case, asking the court to issue a permanent ruling declaring that the school violated the First Amendment by revoking Tyler’s parking pass.
The Goldwater Institute’s American Freedom Network provides pro bono opportunities for private practitioners around the country. With attorneys barred in every state and the District of Columbia, the Network is expanding liberty-minded litigation in meaningful ways. If you are interested in learning more about this program, visit www.americanfreedomnetwork.net or contact Kileen Lindgren at firstname.lastname@example.org.