A Southern California teacher is facing backlash online and removal from her classroom after posting a video on TikTok in which she appears to joke about suggesting that her students pledge allegiance to the Pride flag.
Pitzen tells her story in the video, laughing throughout.
“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,” she said. Pitzen then explained that there actually isn’t an American flag in the classroom because she took it down during the pandemic since it made her “uncomfortable.” When a student commented to Pitzen that it was weird they were pledging allegiance without an actual flag, she jokingly suggested they pledge to the flag they did have in the classroom.
That’s the story. Not that Pitzen’s students actually pledged allegiance to the Pride flag, but that she joked about it being the only flag in the classroom. As you can imagine, that small yet important detail didn’t stop conservatives on social media from losing their minds, and a backlash ensued — especially once the video was picked up by the “Libs of TikTok” account.
The vitriol led to Pitzen deleting all her social media accounts. One person who weighed in called Pitzen an “indoctrinator with an ungodly social agenda,” while another said, “I’ll chip in for a one-way ticket to Afghanistan if she promises to leave the USA immediately.” Richard Grenell, a gay man who was U.S. ambassador to Germany under the Trump administration, weighed in as well. “What kind of parent would allow their child to be taught by this wacko?” he tweeted. “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?!?”
Following the outcry, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District where, Pitzen is an English-as-a-second-language teacher, announced that she had been removed from her classroom while it conducts an investigation.
“On Friday evening, one of our teachers created a personal social media post that caused alarm and concern related to saluting the American flag,” school officials said. “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.”