Student, mother voice concern after California teacher hangs Nazi flag in classroom
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – A teacher at Frontier High School hung a Nazi flag in his world history classroom this week, prompting one concerned mother to reach out to Eyewitness News.
Roxanne Hartline tweeted a photo Thursday that her daughter, 15-year-old Vaniece Thomas, took in her classroom.
“So this evening, daughter says that the school knows about this & bcuz they’re studying the Holocaust “it’s okay”!! Um excuse me, they wouldn’t put up a poster of two people engaging in sex in health class! Why?!Bcuz it’s OFFENSIVE!” reads Hartline’s tweet.
Thomas told Eyewitness News on Friday that the teacher, David Gaeta, hangs the flag in his classroom every year while they study World War II and the Holocaust. After students shared that they were shocked by the Nazi symbolism in their classroom, Gaeta explained his reasoning for having it up, noting that it's a flag given to him from a relative who served in WWII and would be taken down after the lesson was concluded, according to Thomas.
"The only reason I wasn't more mad about it was because it was Mr. Gaeta," Thomas said, noting that he's a well-liked teacher and she did not want him to suffer any consequences.
The photo tweeted by Hartline shows a handwritten message on the classroom ceiling: "We heart Gaeta."
A Kern High School District spokeswoman said the flag, a decades-old artifact, was “strictly for the lesson,” and the district doesn’t plan any action against the teacher.
"It was part of history and part of a lesson, but it's not something that's hanging permanently in his classroom,” Public Information Officer Erin Briscoe-Clarke told Eyewitness News over the phone.