A California elementary school teacher is being investigated after she posted a video online telling conservative students at the local high school to “jump off a bridge” after one of them flew a “F*ck Joe Biden” flag.
Kristin Usilton, a “dual immersion” teacher at Bauer Speck Elementary School in Paso Robles, California, posted a video to her Instagram last Wednesday, where she took umbrage with conservative students at the local high school who flew American and military flags, including one that read “F*ck Joe Biden,” in the parking lot of the high school on November 10.
“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,” Robles said in the video, posting footage of the students. “And had the LGBTQ population done that or the black or the Hispanic community members, we would have had our ass chewed out. Look at what they did today.”
Teacher in Paso Robles, California says conservative kids can “jump off a bridge” pic.twitter.com/GVHh7Uh7fm
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) November 18, 2021
Usilton, who has worked as a teacher for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District for 6 years, posted a second video later that day after the first garnered attention from the local California community. “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,” Robles argued. “But if that’s what you focused on in that message, you’re kind of part of the problem.”
After the videos circulated even further on social media this week, Curt Dubost, the Superintendent of PRJUSD, released a statement on Wednesday, noting that the district had opened up an investigation not only into Robles, but also to the student who flew the “F*ck Joe Biden” flag as well:
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, 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.
Dubost concluded by once again focusing on the flag itself and the actions of the students, arguing that the PRJUSD will be expanding efforts to “hold joint activities which promote tolerance and unity,” because “Veterans Day should be a day for patriotism and honoring service, not yet another politically divisive controversy.”
Ulsiton later deleted her Instagram account, where she had originally posted the video after the story garnered national attention, and claimed via her fiance, Eusebio Martinez Jr, that she could not comment due to the investigation. Martinez also demanded that the coverage of the story in the Pablo Free Press be taken down because it was “ruining her good name.”
This isn’t the first time that flags have caused controversy in the PRJUSD. In September, two students allegedly stole an LGBTQ Pridge flag from the wall of a science classroom at Paso Robles High School, and took a video of themselves flushing it down the toilet, which was then posted to TikTok. Following the incident, Dubost declared that no flags that are “alterations of the American flag” could be displayed, citing the need for teachers to not display their political allegiances in the classroom.