‘Young Patriot’ Kicked Out Of Class Over Gadsden Flag

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When a 12-year-old boy proudly displayed a Gadsden flag patch on his backpack at school, he was gobsmacked after his teacher kicked him out of class, claiming the patriotic symbol had ties to slavery. The young student was determined to fight back, and it was not in vain.

Jaiden, the 12-year-old student at the center of the controversy (Credit: Screenshot)

Jaiden, a middle schooler in Colorado, became entangled in controversy after being booted out of class for displaying a Gadsden flag on his backpack. During the Revolutionary War, the Gadsden flag with a brilliant yellow background and a rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread On Me” was adopted as a symbol of liberty and freedom.

According to social media footage of a meeting between the child’s mother and an administrator, the Colorado student at the Vanguard School was ordered to remove the flag patch before being permitted to return to class. It was one of several patches on his backpack.

Jaiden and his mother attend a meeting with school administrators (Credit: Screenshot)

The administrator at the public charter school told the boy’s mother that he couldn’t display the patch because it had “origins with slavery and the slave trade,” according to the meeting footage. However, the mother responds that the roots of the Gadsden flag can be traced back to the Revolutionary War and have nothing to do with slavery.

The clip of the meeting, posted by conservative author Connor Boyack, soon went viral online. Users on social media debated the flag’s history and significance, which is named for its designer, Christopher Gadsden, a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress and brigadier general in the Continental Army. It was initially flown on Commodore Esek Hopkins’ flagship in December 1775, two days before Hopkins was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy.

According to author Connor Boyack, Jaiden was determined to fight back. “As you can hear his mom say in the video, Jaiden wanted to stand up for his (non-racist!) beliefs,” he posted. “So after he was kicked out of class, he asked his mom to take him to the news station to get the word out. They declined an interview.”

Jaiden was even defended by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat. “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 said in response to the video. “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. It’s a great teaching moment for a history lesson!”

In 2019, Tucker Carlson reported on actor Chriss Pratt, who was labeled a “white supremacist” for wearing a Gadsden Flag T-shirt (Credit: YouTube)

Despite the fact that the flag was first used as a personal ensign by the first naval commander-in-chief during the American Revolution, some detractors said it was a right-wing symbol of hatred. According to the New York Post, it was popularized by the conservative Tea Party movement and has been increasingly connected with right-wing ideology.

School administrator Jeff Yocum pointed out a 2014 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decision in an email to the student’s mother. The EEOC concluded that the flag could be considered racist if someone believes it is racist, regardless of whether it is. The agency determined that the Gadsden flag had no connection to racism or slavery, writing, “After a thorough review of the record, it is clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context.” It also stated that the flag is frequently used “to express various non-racial sentiments” in political contexts.

In the end, Jaiden’s campaign to protest the school’s verdict was successful. Following public outrage, the school board of directors summoned an emergency meeting and backed down from its requests that Jaiden remove the patch, according to the Denver Gazette. The school informed Jaiden and his family that he could return to class with the flag emblem on his backpack.

The Colorado school also set the record straight. “The Vanguard School recognizes the historical significance of the Gadsden flag and its place in history,” the school board wrote to Vanguard families. “This incident is an occasion for us to reaffirm our deep commitment to classical education in support of these American principles.” Thanks to online outrage, Jaiden was able to stand up for his beliefs proving the Gadsden flag is not a symbol of racism but part of early American history, which aided our forefathers in our country’s first fight for freedom.