After Pride Flag Pledge Joke, California Teacher Now Placed on Leave

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday September 3, 2021
Originally published on September 2, 2021

A California teacher who went viral on TikTok for all the wrong reasons has now been placed on leave, reports People magazine.

Kristen Pitzen, a teacher in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in Costa Mesa, California, joked in a now infamous video making the rounds on social media that she told her students that they could pledge allegiance to the LGBTQ+ Pride flag instead of the American flag.

The moment caught the attention of parents and students alike, leading Newport-Mesa school officials to place Pitzen on leave while launching an investigation into her conduct as an educator.

"We assure you that we take matters like this seriously," the district's statement read. "Showing respect for our nation's flag is an important value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees."

On Tuesday, KTLA reported that "several miniature American flags and gay pride flags were propped up around the school by area residents and parents."

One spectator who left an American flag outside of Pitzen's school shared that he would like to educate her about how to respect the flag.

"I won't disrespect her flag," said Michele Vaughn. "I don't think she should be disrespecting the flag of our country, and I think that it's very poor judgment of her to make a video like that, especially three days after 13 of our service members were killed."