Photo by Aleks Taurus/Deposit Photos
Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis defended the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag on Wednesday, in response to a now-viral video showing a 12-year-old student being told by school officials to remove a patch depicting it from his backpack.
On Tuesday, video of the incident where a school official told the student that he was not allowed to have a patch with the Gadsden flag on it, the famous “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, sparked uproar on social media. The video, which appears to be filmed by the boy’s mother, shows a school official explaining that the student was barred from displaying the flag because school staff believed it to be associated with slavery and racism.
On Wednesday, the Governor came out in defense of the flag and defended students rights to express their political viewpoints and free speech. Polis said that he “call(s) it a teaching moment. Let’s just let kids have their free expression in schools and if they want to advocate for their political beliefs I think that’s something that should be encouraged. It’s all about free speech.”
Polis mentioned things like the pride flag and said that if we aren’t going to ban things like the pride flag, we shouldn’t be banning free speech on “the other side”. Polis added that “this is a country that treasures free speech” and that we need to support free speech, even when we don’t agree with someone’s beliefs.
Polis concluded that we need to work on our ability to disagree better and not jump to questioning someone’s motives, and said we need to start having discussions.
The Gadsden flag was created and used by Ben Franklin in the 1750s as a warning to Great Britain to not mess with the liberties of the colonies. In recent years, groups from both the left and the right have adopted a similar flag as their own.