A teacher from Newport Mesa School District in Orange County, California is under investigation after she posted a video admitting that she encouraged students to pledge allegiance to a gay pride flag after she removed the American flag from her classroom during the pandemic.
Kristin Pitzen, a teacher at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, said in a now viral video posted on social media:
Okay, so during third period, we have announcements and they do 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. 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.
…I took it down during COVID because [whispering] it made me uncomfortable. And I packed it away and I don’t know where, and I haven’t found it yet.
She then goes on to mention that one of her students notices that there is no flag in their classroom to say the pledge to. To which Pitzen responds, “We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to,” as she motions to the progressive Pride flag pinned to the wall. Perhaps meaning that students should be allies to the LGBTQ+ community, but rustling a lot of conservative Orange County feathers in the process.
The video has amassed over 1.5 million views in just a couple of days and thousands have rallied online calling for Pitzen to be fired. The original video has since been deleted from TikTok.
In other videos posted by Pitzen during Pride month, but now also deleted, the teacher says, “I’ll never not be awkward, that’s fun for me,” Pitzen said during her self-guided classroom tour. “Happy Pride, everyone, it’s June 1, the start of Pride Month, here’s what I got going in my classroom … I pledge allegiance to the queers.”
“I love you all very much—for the people who are out, who aren’t out. You’re appreciated. You’re loved. You’re enough. I support you. I got you,” she added.
The Newport Mesa School District posted an alert since the video was gaining traction.
A personal post by a teacher about the American flag is causing alarm/concern. Respecting our flag is a value we instill in students and is an expectation of our staff. We take this matter with extreme seriousness and are investigating and addressing it.
— Newport-Mesa USD (@nmusd) August 28, 2021
“We are aware of this incident and are investigating. While we do not discuss employee related matters, we can tell you that showing respect and honor for our nation’s flag is a value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees. We take matters like this seriously and will be taking action to address it,” public relations officer for the district, Annette Franco said in a statement.
The Newport Mesa School District has also confirmed that Pitzen has been removed from the classroom during the investigation.
Source: Fox News