Democratic Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado defended a schoolboy Tuesday who was allegedly removed from a classroom in his state because of a Gadsden flag patch on his backpack.
Jaiden Rodriguez, aged 12, was allegedly removed from class in The Vanguard School, a charter school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, because his backpack had a patch depicting a Gadsden flag, a symbol of the American Revolution that school authorities said was “linked to slavery.” Polis, a Democratic governor serving his second term, commented on the flag and called it a “proud symbol of the American Revolution,” according to a post on Twitter, now known as X. (RELATED: REPORT: School Removes 12-Year-Old From Class Over Revolutionary War Flag Patch)
“The Gadsden flag is a proud symbol of the American Revolution and an iconic warning to Britain or any government not to violate the liberties of Americans,” Polis wrote. “It appears on popular American medallions and challenge coins through today and Ben Franklin also adopted it to symbolize the union of the 13 colonies.”
Meet 12yo Jaiden who was kicked out of class yesterday in Colorado Springs for having a Gadsden flag patch, which the school claims has “origins with slavery.”
The school’s director said via email that the patch was “disruptive to the classroom environment.”
Receipts in the 🧵 pic.twitter.com/qQ8jK1zSpR
— Connor Boyack 📚 (@cboyack) August 29, 2023
The flag depicts a coiled rattlesnake rampant on a yellow field above the words “DON’T TREAD ON ME” and was designed by Christopher Gadsden in 1775. The snake was adopted from cartoon, “Join, Or Die,” by Benjamin Franklin, which depicted eight of the 13 American colonies at the time as components of a woodcut rattlesnake.
The states of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia permit drivers to obtain Gadsden flag-themed license plates when registering their vehicles.
School authorities cited the flag’s alleged ties to “the Confederate flag and other white supremacy groups” as well as “hate groups” to prohibit the flag, according to an email from the school’s director to the boy’s mother shared by Connor Boyack, a conservative education expert on Twitter, now known as X. In a conversation between authorities and the boy’s mother, an official told her that “the reason we do not want the flag is due to its origins with slavery and slave trade.”
The boy’s mother attempted the explain to school authorities the significance of the flag but was rebuffed by the official. “It has nothing to do with slavery … maybe you’re thinking of the Confederate flag,” she protested.
“It’s a great teaching moment for a history lesson!,” Polis said.
The school’s director did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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