Democratic Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado defended a schoolboy Tuesday who was allegedly removed from a classroom in his state because of a Gadsden flag patch on his backpack.

Jaiden Rodriguez, aged 12, was allegedly removed from class in The Vanguard School, a charter school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, because his backpack had a patch depicting a Gadsden flag, a symbol of the American Revolution that school authorities said was “linked to slavery.”

Polis, a Democratic governor serving his second term, commented on the flag and called it a “proud symbol of the American Revolution,” according to a post on Twitter, now known as X.

“The Gadsden flag is a proud symbol of the American Revolution and an iconic warning to Britain or any government not to violate the liberties of Americans,” Polis wrote. “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.”


The flag depicts a coiled rattlesnake rampant on a yellow field above the words “DON’T TREAD ON ME” and was designed by Christopher Gadsden in 1775. The snake was adopted from cartoon, “Join, Or Die,” by Benjamin Franklin, which depicted eight of the 13 American colonies at the time as components of a woodcut rattlesnake.

The states of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia permit drivers to obtain Gadsden flag-themed license plates when registering their vehicles.

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