Over the last year or so, parents have found many reasons to be upset with the education system in America. As the pandemic rages, schools have been forced to deal with the virus in unexpected ways, including distance learning and mask mandates to promote safety among American children and teachers. However, one Orange County, California educator, Kristin Pitzen, had sparked outrage among conservatives when she withdrew the American flag from her classroom because she found it offensive and instead instructed students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to a rainbow LGBTQ flag that she had hanging from the wall in place of Old Glory.
Pitzen is an educator at Back Bay High School in Southern California and posted a video about the LGBTQ flag to her social media account. In the video, the teacher explained how she removed the American flag from her classroom because the red-, white- and blue- flag made her feel “uncomfortable.” One student asked her how they should recite the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning, to which the teacher replied that they could still direct their pledge to the rainbow flag hanging in her classroom.
“My kid today goes, ‘Hey, it’s kind of weird that we just stand and we say it to nothing.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh well, I gotta find it. I’m working on it. I got you,’” the teacher explained in her viral video. However, she laughed in the video, which led many viewers to understand that she did not really have the intention of replacing the American flag.
“In the meantime, I tell this kid, ‘We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to,’” Pitzen said. “And he like, looks around and goes, ‘Oh, that one?’”
Pitzen then pans her camera toward the pride flag that she has hanging from her wall. Her video went viral when it was picked up by the conservative-run Libs of Tik Tok account on Friday. All the negative publicity was a shock to Pitzen, who immediately tried to delete her content from the internet – but it was too late as other outlets had already picked up her video and were sharing it with their viewers.
The following day, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District announced that they were “investigating and addressing it” in reference to Pitzen’s Pledge of Allegiance process and the absence of the American flag in the classroom.
Another post from the school district went into more detail about the district’s official stance on the American flag and what it stands for.
“A personal post by a teacher about the American flag is causing alarm/concern,” the official account for the district stated. “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.”
By Monday, the school district removed Pitzen from the classroom. However, it is not clear if she lost her job or was just reassigned.
“Showing respect for our nation’s flag is an important value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees,” a statement from the district’s account said. “The teacher is no longer in the classroom.”
What do you think about this teacher’s view on the flag?
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.