Kristin Usilton is a Paso Robles, California, elementary school teacher, who has caused controversy after posting a video to Instagram in which she urged conservative students to go “jump off a bridge” because she was upset by a student waving a “f*** Biden” flag.
According to Paso Robles Press, a student recorded one of Usilton’s videos on Instagram and shared it with other students. The video has since gone viral.
The students flew the flag along with American and military flags on November 10, the newspaper reported, which was not Veterans day but was the anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps birthday. Veterans Day was on November 11, 2021. Heavy reached out to Usilton seeking comment through her school email addreess.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The School District Says an Employee Made ‘Inappropriate’ Remarks About a ‘Profane Flag’
The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District released a statement on the incident on November 17, 2021, which says, “Last Wednesday, a student effort to honor Veterans Day was disrupted by a very poor choice to include a profane flag. This both detracted from the intended purpose of the demonstration and led to considerable disruption, including some postings and exchanges on social media that were completely inappropriate. The objectionable flag was up for a very limited amount of time, however, we in no way condone nor excuse this misguided action. Students will be appropriately disciplined in accordance with District policies.”
Later that day, the statement says, “a District employee posted comments on social media regarding this event which were inappropriate, and the District is responding accordingly through the Human Resource office. The District will make it clear to all employees that as an employee of PRJUSD, social media is not the appropriate venue for criticism of our students and families and that we must conduct ourselves in a professional manner. The community is entrusting their children to our schools and employees. With this stated, we want to emphasize that the District does not tolerate threats on our employees or students, nor do we condone cyber-bullying.”
The District noted that it will “expand its efforts to hold joint activities which promote tolerance and unity. Veterans Day should be a day for patriotism and honoring service, not yet another politically divisive controversy. We call on the school community to come together as Roblans and Bearcats.”
2. Usilton Is Accused of Saying the Conservative Students Can ‘Go Jump Off a Bridge’ & That Veterans Would Be ‘Absolutely Offended by What They Did on School Campus’
Paso Robles Press says the video appears to have been filmed in a classroom.
In it, they reported, Usilton made this comment:
“The Paso Robles Conservative club for the high school, you can go jump off a bridge. I’m going to post what they thought was a great show of support for the veterans, who I’m pretty sure would be absolutely offended by what they did on school campus. And had the LGBTQ population don’t that or the black or the Hispanic community members, we would have had our a– chewed out. Look at what they did today.”
3. Usilton Teaches at an Elementary School
According to Paso Robles Press, Usilton has been a district teacher for six years and describes herself as a “dual immersion teacher.”
On one video, she said, according to the newspaper, “Of the justice of all the neglected Hispanic population on the west side still fighting just for their right to have an equal education. And if you think that I’m going to stop fighting, you got another thing coming.”
She is still listed on the website for the Glen Speck Elementary School.
Her Instagram page is now deleted, but on the Google cache for it, she wrote, “#ocdeprojectglad Teacher trainer Dual immersion Kinder teacher . Ready to change the world ☝ 5 year old at a time.”
On LinkedIn, she calls herself a business owner and teacher. Her Facebook page is deleted.
4. Usilton Clarified That She Didn’t Literally Want Students to Jump Off a Bridge & Accused Critics of Being ‘Part of the Problem’
Usilton has spoken out in her own defense. “When I said ‘go jump off a bridge,’ I just meant go away, and I will not use that term again because of the incredible influx of messages I got about that,” Usilton said, according to Daily Mail.
“But if that’s what you focused on in that message, you’re kind of part of the problem.”
She had a YouTube channel, but it’s deleted.
She is part of a podcast called The Beauty of Our Beasts, per her Pinterest page.
5. People Filled the District’s Post With Comments
People filled the district’s Facebook post with comments. Some people criticized the teacher; other people critized the students, and some people criticized both. Here are some of them:
“Encouraging student suicide by a teacher just because they have a different opinion is uncalled for. Kids are struggling with so many issues right now, even if they were wrong in what they did, we need to lift them up, not wish for their demise.”
“Is this teacher, Kristin Usilton, fired yet? She instigated violence and death to high school students. Has her teaching license been suspended!??!?”
“What the teacher did was wrong but what the kids did was wrong too. They exploited a special day for their own political (and profane) agenda. It was disrespectful to vets. People seriously need to let this Trump thing go and move on.”
“Sounds like we need to stick to the American flag and the California state flag as the only 2 flags approved to be on school campuses.”
“Thank god this was taken care of. The students responsible should not get away with this. The fact that also the Assistant Principal justified this behavior saying it was “Freedom of Speech” and that it was appropriate on Veterans Day for that matter. THIS IS NOT OKAY!”