A video has gone viral showing a 12-year-old student being removed from class at a charter school in Colorado Springs. The young boy, who attends the Vanguard School, was targeted for having a Gadsden flag patch on his backpack.
In the shocking footage, the student, Jaiden, is seen along with his mother and a school staff member sitting down for a meeting in her office to discuss his removal from class. Noting that he had a Gadsden flag patch on his bag, the school administrator said: “The reason we do not want the flag displayed – is due to its origins with slavery, and slave trade.”
Jaiden’s mother appeared incredulous throughout the conversation, asking what would happen if her son did not remove the patch. The staff member replied: “The bag can’t go back if it’s got the patch on it, cause we can’t have that in and around other kids.”
Apparently aware of the flag’s history, Jaiden’s mother challenged the staff member and her assertion.
“It has nothing to do with slavery, that’s like the revolutionary war patch that was displayed when they were fighting the British,” she said. She then asked if the school had perhaps mistaken the iconic image for the Confederate flag.
The administrator responded, “I am here to enforce the policy that was provided by the district and definitely, you have every right not to agree with it.”
Jaiden’s mother continued to challenge the staff member to the end, noting that her family had taught the boy to stand up for his beliefs.
“We teach him to always stand up for his beliefs. You are going over the revolution for 7th grade. The Founding Fathers stood up for what they believed in against unjust laws. This is unjust,” Jaiden’s mother said. She then asked for the staffer to show her the policy.
During the video, the staff member said she would put Jaiden’s mother in touch with Jeff Yocum, the Vanguard School’s Director of Operations.
Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack received copies of the email correspondence between Yocum and Jaiden’s mother after her meeting at the school and shared them on X.
Yocum cited guidance from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which admitted that the flag “originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context,” but added that “whatever the historic origins and meaning of the symbol, it also has since been sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages.”
The director then argued that the flag is associated with “hate groups,” linking to an article in the email to the mother that cited a “graphic design scholar” who claimed that “some may now see the Gadsden flag as a symbol of intolerance and hate—or even racism.”
When asked what rule Jaiden had been breaking, the director told his mother that Jaiden’s patch was against the rules under “Unacceptable Items”, under anything that referred to “drugs, tobacco alcohol or weapons.”
According to an update provided by Boyack, Jaiden did return to school today with his patch in place.
“He said he’d do a sit-in if necessary to protest. Two law firms have stepped forward to assist as necessary to fight the viewpoint discrimination. Lots of media interest. Mom and son will likely be on Hannity tonight, other outlets covering too”
Despite receiving support from conservative commentators, Democrat Colorado Governor, Jared Polis, posted in support of Jaiden and his patch.
“The Gadsden flag is a proud symbol of the American revolution and a iconic warning to Britain or any government not to violate the liberties of Americans. 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!”
The Vanguard School was set to host a Back to School event tonight, but cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances” that were not elaborated upon to parents.
The Publica reached out to the school for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.