At Pine Junior-Senior High School in Washington Parish, Louisiana, the school sells students the right to paint their parking space as they see fit, as long as it falls within certain guidelines.
Ned Thomas paid his $25 and then went about painting his mural, which fit within the rules of no profanity, no lewd images, and no names of other students. Still, the school contacted Thomas and told him that his parking spot mural was divisive and would be painted over, which school employees did 10 minutes later.
The mural was of the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, with a U.S. flag bandanna on his head and the Stars and Stripes painted on his sunglasses. Thomas was not given any time to contest the decision or any path for a remedy.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon has a problem with this and ruled against the school superintendent.
“The painting of President Trump cannot reasonably be described as obscene or plainly offensive on its face, nor can it be construed as school-sponsored speech… ultimately, it is clear that school officials in this case acted based upon ‘an urgent wish to avoid controversy which might result from the expression.’”
As courts have often found, avoiding controversy is not a good enough reason to take away someone’s Constitutional Rights.