That School Is Still Treading on Jaiden Rodriguez’s Free Speech Rights

That School Is Still Treading on Jaiden Rodriguez’s Free Speech Rights


The case of 12-year-old Jaiden Rodriguez isn’t fairly closed. Whereas the Vanguard Faculty’s board of administrators has declared that he could sport a “do not tread on me” patch on his backpack, a more in-depth take a look at the college district’s insurance policies means that directors are nonetheless inclined to tread throughout Rodriguez’s free speech rights.

That is in response to the Basis for Particular person Rights and Expression (FIRE), a First Modification advocacy group. FIRE spoke with Jaiden’s mom, who stated that opposite to the board’s public assertion, a district official—Mike Claudio, assistant superintendent of Harrison Faculty District Two in Colorado Springs, Colorado—informed her that her son would solely be allowed to show the Gadsden flag patch so long as nobody else complained about it.

Furthermore, Rodriguez remains to be prohibited from displaying a secondary patch that references the Firearms Coverage Coalition and expresses assist for the Second Modification. The justification for this restriction is the district’s categorical ban on content material having to do with alcohol, medication, tobacco, and weapons.

In a letter to the district, FIRE’s Aaron Terr defined that these insurance policies violate the First Modification.

The patch doesn’t endorse illegal exercise or convey any risk, there isn’t any proof it has prompted precise (or anticipated) substantial disruption of the college atmosphere, neither is the mere proven fact that it depicts a firearm concrete proof it should,” wrote Terr.

If constantly utilized, the district’s overly broad coverage would prohibit speech that’s clearly permissible.

Underneath the coverage, college students can not put on D.A.R.E. shirts or Everytown for Gun Security pins,” wrote Terr. “The coverage goes far past prohibiting expression that promotes criminality or that would considerably disrupt the college environment.”

Nor can the district allow such patches up till the purpose at which somebody complains about them. This may be an instance of the heckler’s veto; for apparent causes, speech doesn’t abruptly lose First Modification safety simply because somebody objects to it.

The district didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. This example requires swift clarification: Faculty officers should acknowledge that they might not tread on the free speech rights of any college students.