Kristin Pitzen is a California teacher who revealed in a TikTok video that she suggested her students say the Pledge of Allegiance to the gay pride flag. In the video, she says she removed the American flag from her classroom because it made her “uncomfortable.”
The video was shared by the Twitter Page Libs of Tiktok, sending it viral, and where it has more than 1 million views. It was originally posted on the teacher’s TikTok page, @mrsgillingsworth, according to Libs of TikTok. Fox News identified her as Kristin Pitzen of Newport Mesa School District in Orange County, California. Screenshots of her now deleted LinkedIn page confirm the same. The Google cache for her TikTok page says it read, “Your Favorite English Teacher ♀️ ✨ She/They.” It’s no longer active.
In a Facebook post, the Newport Mesa School District confirmed it is investigating the incident.
“We are aware of this incident and are investigating,” Hank Bangser, Interim Superintendent of Schools, told Heavy in an email. “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.”
“We are aware of this incident. I assure you that we take matters like this seriously and are taking action to address it. Showing respect for our nation’s flag is a value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees,” Annette Franco. Public Relations Officer for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, told Heavy in an email.
Here’s what you need to know:
In the Video, the Teacher Says, ‘I do Have a Flag in the Class That We Can Pledge Allegiance To’
The Libs of TikTok twitter page shared the video and wrote, “Teacher mocks the American Flag and suggests to students they can say the Pledge of Allegiance to the pride flag.”
“Okay, so during third period, we have announcements and they do the Pledge of Allegiance,” the teacher 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, you don’t have to say the words. So my class decided to stand but not say the words, totally fine. Except for the fact that my room does not have a flag. It used to be there. But I took it down during COVID because it made me uncomfortable. And, um, I packed it away, and I don’t know where, and I haven’t found it yet. But my kid today goes, ‘It’s kind of weird that we just stand and say it to nothing.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh well, I’ve got to find it. I’m working on it, I’ve got you.’ In the meantime, I tell this kid, I do have a flag in the class that we can pledge allegiance to. He looks around and he goes, oh that one?”
The video then pans to show the pride flag.
Pitzen giggled multiple times during the video.
Libs of TikTok also posted a second video showing Pitzen wearing rainbow earrings and glasses. “She shows off all the pride flags in her classroom and says ‘I pledge allegiance to the queers,'” that caption reads.
“Happy pride everyone! It’s June 1. The start of Pride Month,” she says in that video. She showed off pride flags throughout her classroom. “I pledge allegiance to the queers,” she said, putting her hand over her heart.
“I’ve also got a really big pride, inclusive flag,” Pitzen said, adding that she was going to put it up in her classroom.
Screenshots of comments “Mrs. Gillingsworth” posted on TikTok, read things like, “I am usually standing always in class just naturally but I put my hands clasped down and I do not say the words. I emphasize that it is okay.”
The School District Says ‘Showing Respect for Our Nation’s Flag Is an Important Value’
The School District is investigating the video, which was created on August 27, 2021.
“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 employee,” the school district posted on Facebook.
“We take this matter seriously and are investigating and addressing it.” Heavy reached out to the district superintendent to see if he wanted to make additional comment.
The post has filled with negative comments against the teacher.
“Let me know the address of the school and I’ll send you an American flag? Maybe I’ll send one that has flown over Arlington National Cemetery,” wrote one person.
“It’s simple. Kristen Pitzen either represents the ethos of NMUSD or she doesn’t. Which is it? We will know by the actions NMUSD takes today, 🇺🇸” wrote another.
“As she posts this on Friday, there are 13 grieving families of those soldiers that were killed in Afghanistan. Shameful,” another wrote.
Former acting director of national intelligence Ric Grenell was among those criticizing Pitzen for the video.
“What kind of parent would allow their child to be taught by this wacko? 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?!?” Grenell wrote on Twitter.
The Google cache for Pitzen’s now deleted LinkedIn page said she is an “English Second Language Teacher” in Orange County, California, Newport Mesa Unified School District. Her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages are also deleted.
She was listed as an English teacher at Back Bay High School in a now deleted website page. The staff directory for Back Bay High School is no longer an active page.