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'We Won': Student Booted from Class Over 'Don't Tread on Me' Flag Scores Quick Victory Over Administrators

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A Colorado school just gave the country a lesson in the power of conservative resistance.

A day after a 12-year-old boy was removed from a classroom in Colorado Springs over a Gadsden flag patch he had on a backpack, the school’s board of directors issued a statement declaring the boy would be welcomed back into the classroom — patch and all.

And the conservative author and activist who helped publicize the case published a two-word social media statement that summed it up in words conservatives don’t hear nearly enough these days.

“We won!” wrote Connor Boyack, president of the conservative think tank Libertas

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The boy was identified as Jaiden Rodriguez, a seventh-grader at The Vanguard School, a charter school in Colorado Springs, according to KOAA-TV.

Jaiden’s mother, Eden Rodriguez, secretly recorded her meeting with a school administrator who informed her that Jaiden could not have the patch in school because it was allegedly linked to the country’s slave days.

“So, the reason that they do not want the flag — the reason we do not want the flag displayed — is due to its origins with slavery and slave trade,” the administrator said.

No one disputes that slavery and the slave trade constitute a shame on the history of the United States, but the Gadsden flag has nothing to do with either.

In fact, with its proudly, dangerously coiled rattlesnake and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me,” it’s a symbol of one of the proudest moments in the country’s history — when the North American colonies of Great Britain were fighting for their independence from the British empire.

It has also become a symbol of conservatives in the contemporary United States, opposing the ever-expanding reach of the federal government into private lives.

And conservatives around the country came to Jaiden’s defense.

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The school’s decision to try to stamp out that symbol was so ludicrous it ignited outrage across the country — and even across party lines.

Idiot Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California, normally a reliable source of leftist lunacy, weighed in with a social media post comparing the student with the Gadsden flag to students who wear rainbow patches to support LGBT causes. (It’s not exactly an apt comparison, but Lieu at least seems to have had the right idea.)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, took the student’s side, too.

So, the school backing down was a victory for free speech all around.

Except the school is trying to water it down.

In a statement released Tuesday, according to KOAA, the Vanguard School claimed that the controversy wasn’t really about the Gadsden flag at all, but other patches Rodriguez had on his backpack.

“The patch in question was part of half a dozen other patches of semi-automatic weapons,” the statement said. “The student has removed the semi-automatic patches. As a school district, we will continue to ensure all students and employees can learn and work in a safe and nurturing environment. The student returned to class without incident after removing the patches of semi-automatic weapons from the backpack.”

That’s funny, since it’s pretty much the first time anyone has mentioned anything in the case but the Gadsden flag.

In fact, in his thread of posts publicizing the case on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Boyack included an email from the school’s director that referred very specifically to the Gadsden flag.

“As discussed,” the director wrote, “I am writing to provide you with the rationale for determining the Gadsden flag is an unacceptable symbol.” (Emphasis added.)

While the backpack did have patches with weapons on them — one of the Catholic St. Michael the Archangel carrying a sword, another of a firearm — they weren’t discussed during Eden Rodriguez’s meeting with the administrator.

It was the Gadsden flag that was the problem — apparently because in the United States of 2023, it’s as much a symbol of the determination to fight for freedom as it was in the colonies in 1775 and the days of the Founding Fathers.

“This is clear viewpoint discrimination. Indeed, the school district policy that the director cited only relates to things featuring ‘drugs, tobacco, alcohol or weapons’ — none of which apply to the Gadsden flag,” Boyack wrote in a commentary piece published Tuesday by the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his think tank is based.

Is freedom of speech under attack?

“This unfortunate example is part of a much broader trend of schools using arbitrary policies to either enforce biased agendas or censor students. Earlier this year, two Michigan students were banned from wearing ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ clothing that was critical of President Joe Biden. Another student was suspended for wearing a ‘Women for Trump’ mask. Another was told to take off their ‘There are only two genders’ T-shirt.”

In another social media post, Boyack — who might be familiar to many conservative parents as the author of the “The Tuttle Twins” children’s book series — called the case an example of how Americans need to be aware of their rights — and of the importance of keeping a record of any contact with officials who try to infringe on them.

But the case is more than that. It’s an example of the real power of the conservative voice in the U.S. — and the principles that conservatives stand for.

If freedom of speech is a cause that even leftists like Lieu and Polis can be persuaded to stand up for, the rest of the country is salvageable still.

And that’s a lesson that needs to be learned.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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