Boy Dismissed From School for Patch on Backpack

Created by Monica Carlyle on Tue Aug 29 2023

A 12-year-old student at The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs, Colorado was pulled out of class due to a Gadsden Flag patch on his backpack. This week, the same incident occurred at a high school in Virginia when school administrators demanded a teen to remove two American flags from his truck. Refusing to do so, the student chose to transfer schools instead.

The Colorado charter school blamed the patch's "origins with slavery" for the disruption in the classroom environment. Jaiden's mother insisted that the flag originated during the American Revolution and did not promote slavery. In an attempt to clarify the policy, The Vanguard School connected Jaiden's mother with Jeff Yocum, their Director of Operations. Yocum provided mainstream news reports, such as The Conversation, which stated that the Gadsden Flag is currently associated with modern racist movements.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discovered that the Gadsden Flag has been interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts, which justified The Vanguard School’s decision against Jaiden. However, the EEOC also posted that it did "not find that the Gadsden Flag in fact is a racist symbol." In response to this case, the school has yet to make a public statement.

Despite the conflicting opinions over the Gadsden Flag, many students across the U.S. are standing up for their rights to express themselves with Amercian Flags, patches, and other symbols.

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