A teacher who asked students to pledge allegiance to a Progress Pride flag has been removed from the classroom pending further investigation.
Kristin Pitzen, a schoolteacher in California, recently shared a TikTok video of herself telling students to pledge allegiance to a Progress Pride flag instead of the American flag.
She claimed to have previously removed the latter as it made her feel uncomfortable, resulting in fierce backlash from conservative critics.
“I always tell my class stand if you feel like, don’t stand if you feel like it, say the words if you want, don’t say the words if they don’t want to,” Pitzen said in the video, referring to the American pledge of allegiance. “So my class decided to stand but not say the words. Totally fine. Except for the fact, my room does not have a flag.”
According to Pitzen’s now-deleted LinkedIn profile, she teaches 11th grade English at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, Orange County, though is currently awaiting the outcome of an ongoing investigation by the Newport Mesa Unified School District on whether or not she can return.
“A personal post by a teacher about the American flag is causing alarm/concern,” the school district wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Pitzen used the video to show off her collection of Pride flags in the classroom, saying: “I pledge allegiance to the queers.”
California high school teacher says she took down the American flag in her classroom because it made her “uncomfortable”. She claims she has her students say the Pledge of Allegiance to the pride flag instead. pic.twitter.com/eGAWPaw4V5
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) August 29, 2021
Her video quickly went viral, gaining over one million views in a matter of days on her @MrsGillingsworth TikTok account.
The teacher’s actions even caught the attention of Richard Grenell, the former director of national intelligence, who questioned why parents would let their children be taught by “someone they don’t know”.
“What kind of parent would allow their child to be taught by this wacko,” he wrote on Twitter. “Why are parents turning their kids over to someone they don’t know? I’d like to talk to people who think this is good?!?”
Pitzen’s TikTok account now appears to have been taken down and the school did not provide any further information on the investigation.
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