- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2021

A California school district has removed from the classroom a teacher who took the U.S. flag down from her classroom and told her pupils to pledge allegiance to the gay-pride flag instead.

Kristin Pitzen has been placed on administrative leave, according to an account in the Blaze that cited a spokeswoman for the Newport Mesa Unified School District in Orange County.

“We are aware that one of our teachers posted a video on their personal social media that caused alarm and concern related to saluting the American flag,” spokeswoman Annette Franco said. “The teacher is no longer in the classroom.”

“Showing respect for our nation’s flag is an important value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees,” Ms. Franco said. “We follow due process and our investigation continues.”

Ms. Pitzen started the furor last week by posting a giggle- and smirk-filled TikTok video in which she said that she had removed the American flag because it made her feel “uncomfortable.”

Ms. Pitzen deleted the video but not before it had been preserved and reposted on Twitter by the “Libs of TikTok” account. The Libs of TikTok video went viral and has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

“During third period, we have announcements and they do the Pledge of Allegiance,” Ms. Pitzen says in the video. “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, don’t have to say the words.’”

“So, my class decided to stand but not say the words. Totally fine,” she said. “Except for the fact that my room does not have a flag” because she had removed the Stars and Stripes from her classroom during the pandemic because “It made me uncomfortable,” she whispered in a theatrical manner.

“I packed it away and I don’t know where, and I haven’t found it yet,” she explained while giggling.

In Ms. Pitzen’s video, she says that a pupil asked her what they should do during the Pledge of Allegiance.

“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?’” she says, pointing to the rainbow flag hanging on the classroom wall and laughing.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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