A California teacher has been “removed from the classroom” following a series of social media posts in which she described encouraging her students to pledge allegiance to a rainbow LGBTQ pride flag rather than the United States flag, which the teacher said she took down because it made her “uncomfortable.”
The district did not reveal the instructor’s name, but reports identified her as Kristin Pitzen. In one video the teacher shared, and later deleted, she brags that she doesn’t require her students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I always tell my class, stand if you feel like it, don’t stand if you feel like it, say the words if you want, you don’t have to say the words,” She says in the TikTok video, which was reshared on Twitter. “So my class decided to stand, but not say the words. Totally fine, except for the fact that my room does not have a flag. It used to be there, but I took it down during COVID because it made me uncomfortable. I packed it away and I don’t know where. And I haven’t found it yet.”
Pitzen said that one of her students remarked that it was odd to “stand and say [the Pledge of Allegiance] to nothing. The teacher said she told her student she was working on finding the flag, though in the video she laughed and shook her head “no,” putting doubt to whether she was being honest with her student.
“In the meantime, I tell this kid, we do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to,” Pitzen says, revealing the LGBTQ pride flag displayed on the classroom wall.
A second now-deleted video shows Pitzen decorating her classroom for Pride month, including a number of flags associated with the LGBTQ community.
She then shows the “inclusive” pride flag before putting her hand over her heart and saying, “I pledge allegiance to the queers.”
According to Newsweek, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District confirmed the activist teacher is no longer educating while the district conducts an investigation of the incident.
“We are aware that one of our teachers posted a video on their personal social media that caused alarm and concern related to saluting the American flag. Showing respect for our nation’s flag is an important value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees,” district spokeswoman Annette Franco told the outlet in an email.
“The teacher is no longer in the classroom,” she added. “We follow due process and our investigation continues.”