School officials allegedly removed a 12-year-old student from his classroom at a Colorado Springs charter school after they took issue with a patch on his backpack displaying the historic Gadsden flag.
In a video shared on social media by Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack, a student identified only as Jaiden can be seen wearing the backpack with the offending patch in question as he sits down with a school official, reportedly from The Vanguard Charter School in Colorado Springs.
“The reason that they do not want the flag displayed is due to its origins with slavery and the slave trade,” the school official can be heard explaining in the video.
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
In an email exchange shared by Boyack, Vanguard School Director of Operations Jeff Yocum cites the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (USEEOC) as to why the school has deemed the Gadsden flag as “an unacceptable symbol.” Sharing a link to a 2016 Washington Post article, in which it was reported the Gadsden flag was subject to an EEOC complaint for creating a “hostile work environment,” Yocum adds the flag was tied to the “Confederate flag and other white supremacy groups.”
In the ruling cited by the Washington Post article shared by Yocum, however, it states it was “clear” the flag had originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context and been used to express various sentiments, many of which had nothing to do with race. (RELATED: ‘It Could Be Dangerous’: Dean Cain Weighs In On Attacks Against Chris Pratt’s Gadsden Flag Shirt)
The school official in the video explains Jaiden would be welcome to return to class without his backpack due to the patch, telling a woman who appears to be the student’s mother, “we can’t have that in and around other kids.”
While the woman tried to tell the school official the patch had nothing to do with slavery since it was referencing the sentiment in the Revolutionary War, the official explains she is only enforcing the policy that is provided by the school.
The woman then explains to the school official the patch was designed as a symbol to stand up against unjust laws. She argues that as the school is teaching about the American Revolution, they should be aware of how the Founding Fathers stood up for what they believed in — a character trait she encourages in her son. “This is unjust,” she said of the policy.
The Gadsden Flag is a bright yellow flag emblazoned with a coiled rattlesnake appearing ready to strike with the warning “Don’t Tread On Me” featured underneath. Named after Colonel Christopher Gadsden, the flag was designed in 1775 during the Revolutionary War and was used as a motto flag for the Continental Marines. In more recent years, the flag has been used to represent individual rights over government and has largely been associated with the Libertarian and Tea Party movements in the United States.
The Vanguard School did not immediately return the Daily Caller’s request for comment.