A California teacher who went viral with a TikTok video—in which she bragged about removing the U.S. flag from her classroom—has now been removed from that classroom, multiple outlets report. She was identified as Kristin Pitzen of BackBay/Monte Vista High School, part of Newport Mesa Schools in Orange County.
"She has been removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave, as our investigation continues," Newport Mesa Schools spokesperson Annette Franco confirmed to Fox News Wednesday.
The video, which was inaccessible Wednesday, can still be seen at an alternate TikTok account and was posted on Twitter here:
Teacher mocks the American Flag and suggests to students they can say the Pledge of Allegiance to the pride flag: pic.twitter.com/1QTS5xjPln— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) August 27, 2021
"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,'" Pitzen says in the video. After confessing that she removed the American flag "during COVID because [whispering] it made me uncomfortable," she tells about a student who recently approached her about the class saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the absence of an American flag.
"I'm working on it; I got you," she says she told him, shaking her head to indicate her intention not to replace the flag. However, "In the meantime, I told this kid, we do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to," she adds with a giggle, as the camera pans to the LGBT flag.
Franco released the following statement to Fox News on behalf of the school district:
"We are aware of this incident and are investigating. While we do not discuss employee related matters, we can tell you that showing respect and honor for our nation's flag is a value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees. We take matters like this seriously and will be taking action to address it."
Early Monday, parents and others held a small rally in front of Pitzer's school to demonstrate their support for the American flag, NBC4 reports.
"Just super disgusted," parent Stephanie Cox said in reaction to the viral video. "I just could not believe how ignorant she seemed to be."
A district spokesperson also told NBC News that the district requires each school to conduct daily "patriotic exercises" including reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and "may also include instruction that promotes understanding of the concepts of 'pledge,' 'allegiance,' 'republic,' and 'indivisible' and understanding of the importance of the pledge as an expression of patriotism, love of country and pride in the United States."
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