School Allows Child To Keep ‘Don’t Tread On Me Flag Visible

After his mother claimed he had his First Amendment rights infringed, middle school student Jaiden Rodriguez in Colorado was permitted to continue wearing a Gadsden flag patch that had gotten him expelled.

On Tuesday, a teacher at Vanguard School demanded that a 12-year-old boy take down a banner that said “Don’t tread on me” next to an image of a coiled rattlesnake. The Vanguard School Board of Directors initially said the youngster could not attend school with the Gadsden flag depicted on his backpack but overturned their judgment on Wednesday so that he could.

Jaiden and his mother are relieved by the district’s decision, which acknowledges the historical value of the Gadsden flag and its role in history. The seventh-grader’s First Amendment rights were infringed when the charter school had him skip three days of class because of his patches. First Amendment attorney Steven Zansberg told the media outlet that kids’ First Amendment rights do not cease when they go through the classroom door.

A school supervisor informed Rodriguez that her kid was prohibited from wearing the patch because of its “origins with slavery and the slave trade.” However, the school maintained that the seventh grader had broken dress code regulations with other patches, including several displaying weapons, despite the mother’s argument that the Gadsden flag’s roots may be attributed to the Revolutionary War and not slavery.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis backed him, saying that the flag was a proud emblem of the American Revolution and was a warning to Britain or any government not to violate the rights of Americans. During the American Revolution, the flag was initially employed as a personal ensign by Commodore Esek Hopkins, the country’s first naval commander-in-chief. The conservative Tea Party movement popularized it, and now it’s often linked with the political right.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined 2016 that the flag is not a racist symbol but might be misunderstood and used to communicate racial overtones in specific settings.