A Colorado middle school student was kicked out of his class on Monday for wearing a Gadsden flag patch on his backpack.
The Gadsden flag is a yellow flag with a coiled rattlesnake above the words “Don’t Tread On Me” — which was designed by U.S. Brigadier General Christopher Gadsden in 1775 as a warning to Britain and was flown during the Revolutionary War.
Jaiden — who is currently in seventh grade at The Vanguard School, a charter school in Colorado Springs — was removed from the classroom on Monday after staff noticed the patch on his backpack.
His mother was called into the school to discuss the matter, where she caught teachers on video falsely claiming that the Gadsden flag has “origins with slavery” and the “slave trade,” and thus they would not allow it in class.
“We can’t have that in and around other kids,” a woman said in the video.
“It has nothing to do with slavery. That’s the Revolutionary War patch that was displayed when they were fighting the British,” the mother responded.
In a video provided to The Daily Wire by Jaiden’s mother, the 12-year-old spoke out about the teacher’s demands.
“She said I have to take it off. I don’t understand. Why would I have to take off a patriotic symbol? It’s just weird, it’s kind of weird. I feel like she’s infringing on my rights,” Jaiden reportedly said.
The claims about the Gadsden flag’s supposed “origins with slavery” differ from the school’s initial objections to the student’s patch. In an email to Jaiden’s mother earlier this month, the school flagged his patch and referred to a district policy banning items that “refer to drugs, tobacco, alcohol, or weapons,” according to emails reviewed by The Daily Wire.
Vanguard School Executive Director Renee Henslee warned Jaiden’s mother in an email on Friday that if he returned to school on Monday with the “unacceptable” patch, he would be sent to the front office until it was removed.
The school also told the mother that Jaiden’s Firearms Policy Coalition Official Member patch, which includes a picture of a semi-automatic rifle, is not allowed — but his Dogecoin patch and “Bear Arms And Bitcoin” patch are allowed.
Vanguard School Director of Operations Jeff Yocum has since emailed Jaiden’s mother with a more detailed explanation of their opposition to the Gadsden patch — citing several biased news sources.
In his email, Yocum cited a decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which wrote that while it is “clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context,” the flag “also has since been sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts.”
He also claimed that the Gadsden flag is “tied to the Confederate flag and other white-supremacy groups, including ‘Patriot’ groups,” citing an article from an associate professor of graphic design. Yocum went on to assert that the Gadsden flag is “tied to hate groups,” citing an article that noted the flag was flown during the January 6 Capitol protests.
“We truly hope to have Jaiden back at school tomorrow to resume his normal school day, but that will require this patch to be removed from his backpack,” Yocum wrote.
Despite all of this, Jaiden returned to school on Tuesday still wearing the Gadsden patch, along with a tricornered hat.
Jaiden “said he’d do a sit-in if necessary to protest,” Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute, wrote in a post on X, adding: “Two law firms have stepped forward to assist as necessary to fight the viewpoint discrimination.”