A recent viral TikTok shows a student scolding her teacher for displaying a Blue Lives Matter flag in his classroom.
The TikTok is brief and difficult to decipher in spots, but the student's impassioned words still spoke to viewers, earning the video more than 950,000 likes and tens of thousands of comments. The video eventually spread to Reddit, where it shot to the top of r/PublicFreakout.
The video, posted by TikToker @samaiyahcasey, takes place in a crowded classroom in the era of coronavirus. Students' desks are separated by clear shields, and many students are wearing masks. The outspoken student, a white, blonde girl, sits at a desk in the middle of the room.
"As a teacher, you're here to educate students," she says at the beginning of the video. "And putting up a political flag that some people might get offended by, that is not responsible of you as a teacher."
Any following words by either the student or the teacher are drowned out by the reaction from other students. In classic high school fashion, they burst into laughter and exclamations of surprise.
"OK, it is only Monday. It is only Monday," one student says.
The teacher, a young, white man, can be glimpsed sipping coffee with his mask hanging off one ear. He appears to wear an amused smile during the student's rant.
The teacher's Blue Lives Matter flag—also known as the "Thin Blue Line' flag—hangs next to a Gadsden flag, colloquially known as a "Don't Tread on Me" flag. The Gadsden flag originated during the American Revolution and has since been co-opted by Tea Party supporters, Second Amendment advocates, and far-right groups. As the Daily Dot previously noted, it has also become a meme, "inspiring parodies that range from pointedly political to purely absurdist."
In the comment section for the video, people applauded the student for speaking up.
"She's correct, why is he bringing politics into a classroom," a top comment reads. "Your job is to educate not to debate. Respect to her."
A number of people also stressed the difference between Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter.
"BLUE isn't a life. It's a COLOR," user @tanedrahoward wrote. "No human is blue."
User @gordonlittlelight agreed: "Blue lives isn't a race, its a career."
Other commenters dragged the teacher for putting the flag up in the first place, something that was all but guaranteed to cause an argument in today's political environment.
"He put that up to get a reaction," @nateblais wrote. "He needs to find a different profession."
"It would still be the same if it was a flag for Biden," another commenter added. "He's distracting students from learning. Politics don't have a place in a classroom."
In a comment, the original poster updated viewers on the situation. Apparently, the superintendent was forced to intervene and decided to remove the flag.