In a video she posted to TikTok, Kristin Pitzen of Newport Mesa United School District in Orange County said she took down the U.S. flag in her classroom during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic because it “made her uncomfortable.” She then sarcastically giggled about how she’d “packed it away” but “didn’t know where.”
The teacher then said when one of her English class students asked about the absent U.S. flag during the Pledge of Allegiance, she shrugged it off, saying she was “working on it,” but also silently shook her head as though she were implying otherwise. She then suggested that the student recite the pledge to the only flag displayed in the classroom—the LGBT pride flag.
“We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to,” she said in the video, shifting the camera to show the flag on the classroom wall.
In an earlier video she shared on her TikTok account, Pitzen showed off a variety of flags she used to decorate her classroom in preparation for Pride Month, which was in June.
“I pledge allegiance to the queers,” she joyfully said to the camera, with her hand over her heart, while wearing rainbow-colored glasses, earrings, and suspenders.
The video, which was viewed more than 1 million times before it was removed along with all of Pitzen’s social media accounts, received polarizing comments. Some praised her move, while many others argued that it’s inappropriate for a teacher to impose pro-LGBT views on students and questioned why she felt uncomfortable about having a U.S. flag in her classroom.
“Teachers with a sense of obligation to their calling don’t use their position of authority to teach biased personal views to their students,” one Twitter user wrote.
Some others pointed out that the U.S. flag embodies rights that allow the teacher to express her opinions, including those against the flag.
“Remember, your freedom to say what you said comes from the meaning behind the American flag backed by our constitution,” another person commented.
In a statement posted on Aug. 28 on Twitter, Newport Mesa said that the school district is aware of the incident and is investigating.
“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,” the statement reads. “We take this matter with extreme seriousness and are investigating and addressing it.”