A California teacher is being investigated for saying she removed the US flag from her classroom and encouraged students to instead pledge allegiance to a gay pride banner, district officials said.
The teacher, identified in reports as Kristin Pitzen, said in video shared Friday on Twitter by the “Libs of TikTok” that her students have options as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance during her third-period English class.
“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,” Pitzen said in the viral TikTok post. “So my class decided to stand, but not say the words. Totally fine.”
But that became an issue since the teacher’s classroom did not have a US flag, which she removed during the pandemic because it made her “feel uncomfortable,” Pitzen whispered on the clip.
“I packed it away and I don’t know where, and I haven’t found it yet,” a giggling Pitzen continued. “But my kid today goes, ‘Hey, um, it’s kinda weird that we just stand and then, you know, we say it to nothing.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh well, you know, I gotta find it, like, I’m working on it, I got you.’”
Pitzen then shook her head and said she told the student that a flag was indeed in the classroom that he could “pledge [his] allegiance to” before shifting the camera to a gay pride banner hanging on a wall.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District said in a statement Saturday that one of its teachers was under investigation for the controversial clip.
“Showing respect for our nation’s flag is an important value our district instills in our students and is an expectation of our employees,” district officials said. “We take this matter seriously and are investigating and addressing it.”
District spokeswoman Annette Franco declined to identify the teacher when reached early Monday by The Post.
“We take matters like this seriously and are taking action to address it,” Franco wrote in an email. “No further information at this time.”
Pitzen, meanwhile, was identified Sunday by Fox News as the educator who posted the clip. She has since removed the original TikTok video from her account, where one post remained as of Monday.
“The American flag makes me feel uncomfortable,” she wrote in text on the silent 10-second post.
A message left on a phone listed to Pitzen in Long Beach was not immediately returned Monday. In an earlier video spotted by the “Libs of TikTok” Twitter account, Pitzen showed off many gay pride banners in her classroom during Pride Month while wearing rainbow suspenders and earrings.
“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.”