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Gadsen Flag Kid Slaps Colorado School District with Lawsuit Alleging First Amendment Violations

This Twitter screen shot shows Jaiden Rodriguez and his backpack, which had the Gadsen Flag on it.
@CollinRugg / Twitter Screen Shot

The following article, Gadsen Flag Kid Slaps Colorado School District with Lawsuit Alleging First Amendment Violations, was first published on Flag And Cross.

The Colorado School district that wanted to ban a student from wearing a Gadsden Flag patch on his bookbag is now the target of a federal lawsuit for its handling of the situation.

In August, Jaiden Rodriguez came under fire at the Vanguard School, part of Harrison School District 2 in Colorado Springs,  when the school banned the flag patch before relenting as it became the focus of national attention.

At that time, a video made the rounds of social media showing Jaiden’s mother explaining the history of the Revolutionary War flag to a school official who had believed the yellow flag with the snake and the “Don’t Tread On Me” text was linked to slavery.

When the school relented, it said that if there was a complaint from anyone, the patch might be banned again. Patches Jaiden wore that included a Firearms Policy Coalition insignia that showed a semi-automatic rifle and three Pac-Man ghosts holding guns were banned in August, and have not been allowed to return, according to the Washington Times.

The Mountain States Legal Foundation announced it had filed the suit.

“Jaiden‘s case is important for all Americans who are concerned about the increasing tendency of public schools to silence points of view that do not fit with the ‘progressive’ political orthodoxy,” James Kerwin, senior counsel for Mountain States Legal Foundation said in a news release on its website.

“Schools should not be taking sides with activists who want to reinterpret everything from the past to put it in the worst possible light,” he said.

In the release, the foundation said the threat to ban the patch “is nothing short of a threat to censor his speech once again.”

The foundation said the case is larger than one 12-year-old.

“Public schools are fast becoming the front lines in the battle to preserve a culture and practice of free speech. Jaiden’s case will set an important precedent to hold schools accountable for their duty to honor and protect the First Amendment,” the release said.

The release pushed back on the school’s claim that Jaiden had been disrupting the classroom by wearing the patch

“Referring to American history is not a substantial disruption to the learning environment. The only people who are impeding the ability of other students to learn are education bureaucrats who fail to understand the First Amendment,” the release said.

“I fly it because I am proud to be an American,” Rodriguez said, according to KKTV-TV. “I don’t hate America I’m a patriot of our country.”

“Schools should not be suppressing freedom of speech, and they shouldn’t be taking these extreme positions about historical symbols,” Kerwin said.

Mountain States Legal Foundation wrote on its website that “too many education bureaucrats have exploited the idea that ‘disruptions’ may be caused by speech that they simply don’t like.”

Mountain States said that in the ban on the firearms-related patches “the school applied a blanket policy forbidding any clothing or accessories that ‘refer to…weapons.’ This goes far beyond sensible policies prohibiting students from bringing weapons or simulated weapons to school.”

The legal group said the rule is “so broad that it would forbid a student from displaying the official seal of the State of Colorado because it contains a battle axe and shield, or a one-dollar bill because it depicts an eagle clutching a bundle of arrows. Such a policy is far too broad to be considered acceptable under the Constitution.”

The site said the lawsuit wants an injunction against any censorship, damages, and “a declaration of Jaiden’s rights.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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