A teacher is being investigated over a TikTok in which she jokingly described allowing her students to “pledge allegiance” to a Pride flag instead of the American flag.
Kristin Pitzen of Newport Mesa School District in Orange County, California, posted the video to her since-deleted TikTok account @mrsgillingsworth.
In the TikTok, she said: “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.”
One of the students pointed out, however, that it was a bit “weird” to pledge allegiance to a flag, with no flag in the classroom.
Pitzen explained that she had taken down her classroom’s American flag during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it “made her uncomfortable”, but added that she had packed it away and could no longer find it.
She continued: “In the meantime, I tell this kid, ‘We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to. And he like, looks around and goes, ‘Oh, that one?'”
Laughing, the teacher panned the camera to a Progress Pride flag on the wall.
While many TikTok commenters found her post hilarious – “Now that’s a flag I’d pledge to!” – the video spread like wildfire across social media.
Conservative patriots declared the teacher an ‘ungodly indoctrinator’ over her Pride flag TikTok
Even after Kristen Pitzen took down her TikTok account, “patriots” on Twitter began branding her an “indoctrinator with an ungodly social agenda”.
Social media users tracked down Pitzen and started emailing Newport Mesa School District, and left public reviews on the district’s Facebook page calling her “an absolute disgrace to teachers”.
The clip even caught the attention of Richard Grenell, who briefly served as the interim director of national intelligence and thinks Donald Trump was America’s “most pro-gay president”.
Eventually, the school district announced that it would “investigating” the incident.
Newport Mesa School District wrote on Facebook: “On Friday evening, one of our teachers created a personal social media post that caused alarm and concern related to saluting the American flag.
“Showing respect for our nation’s flag is an important value our district instills in our students and is an expectation of our employees.
“We take this matter seriously and are investigating and addressing it.”