Nazi flag

A Nazi flag hangs in the corner of history teacher David Gaeta's classroom at Frontier High School. 

The mother of a Frontier High School student tweeted a photo late Thursday night of a Nazi flag hanging in one of the school's classrooms.

Roxie Hartline tweeted that the class is currently studying the Holocaust, which is why the flag — featuring the swastika symbol — is hanging in the corner of the room.

The tweet ignited discussion on social media and the flag has since been taken down in history teacher David Gaeta's classroom.

Hartline told The Californian she has a lot of respect for Gaeta, her daughter’s history teacher, but said the swastika displayed so prominently in the classroom was a bad idea.

Gaeta was given the authentic World War II-era flag years ago by a student who had a family member who served in that war. The teacher has displayed the swastika flag during the class’ World War II unit study for more than a decade.

“He’s a great teacher and loved by all,” Hartline said in a text message. “However, the symbol of hate is the first thing (my daughter) sees walking into class. She said she would have been more upset about it but because she likes Mr. Gaeta she let it slide as apparently everyone else has.

"This flag doesn’t just represent history. It represents racism in the current day also," Hartline said. "The school is predominantly white and my daughter is African-American. I just totally disagree with it being hung up at all."

Gabriel Gaeta, David Gaeta's son, reached out to The Californian on Friday, he said, because he wanted to bring much-needed detail and context to the story.

"Each year," Gabriel Gaeta said of his dad, "he notifies administration and takes the time to thoroughly and diligently explain the flag’s origin and history to students."

There's no political motive, the younger Gaeta said. As a veteran history teacher with more than 20 years' experience in the classroom, his dad's decision to use the flag during the World War II unit, was both "legitimate and purposeful.

"A lot of news stations are running with an incomplete story," he said. "I just want the truth to get into the newspaper."

Whether you agree or disagree with his dad's decision to display the flag, he said.

According to Kern High School District spokeswoman Erin Briscoe, once the elder Gaeta realized some students and parents were offended, he decided to take down the flag and refrain from displaying it in the future.

The swastika would typically be displayed for two to three weeks, the length of the World War II unit, Briscoe said.

Seeing that flag hanging in the classroom every day for weeks? Hartline wondered why that was necessary.

The elder Gaeta did not respond to an email request for comment.

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

(73) comments

mikessss

why do you even care copper since you were to good to send your kid to frontier

Copper

Mikessss I care because wrong is wrong . I really do care, don’t you? You should we all should. I had 1 kid who went to liberty and another who went to Ridgeview . Ridgeview was a very wonderfully diverse and multi cultural school , my child loved it and met and made many friends from very diverse backgrounds . I believe introducing children to as many different cultures and people actually makes them better humans. And from most of these hate filled judgmental posts from obviously Caucasian males whom choose to live bigoted and insensitive to others proves my point .

Stating the obvious

Copper, you made my point exactly. It is fascist to "make" others do what YOU want politically. I disagree with you, you respond with hate. I write something you don't like, you belittle me. I say something that you choose to be offended by, you respond with rhetoric and hate. "Making" others follow your will is fascist. You, sir, would rise well in the ranks of Hitler's party. Liberals like to smash anyone that disagrees with them. This is fascist.

Copper

Oh stating the obvious so you can dish it but can’t take it? You were the first one to throw out a name calling Ms. Hartline a nazi and a racist . Do disagree with something hat is wrong is not fascist . Funny instead of making a intelligent or interesting point you just name call fascist.... liberal....huhuhuh... like a bra is and butthead show..... your sad atttempt at projecting these ideas of fascism to people who want to live in a society that has respect and sensitivity to others shows you are in fact what you claim others are. Youbstarted this stream of posts with smashing Ms Hartline yet now you are whining about being treated how treat others . Guess your still mad that our culture “made” people end slavery, “made “ people follow civil rights laws,”made” people follow gender equality laws, etc, etc. so if t t thats fascist ?

yorkies2014

what next? posters of the artifacts of the Nazi persecution of Jews — a lampshade made from human skin?...I'm glade the hate flag is gone......the teacher needs a sabbatical

Copper

Agreed. Except I believe the Principal should be addressed as well due to the fact he knowingly allowed this to go on for years. He should know what’s going on his classrooms . Poor judgement to say the least. I don’t know if jobs should be in jeopardy but definitely some sensitivity training for the whole staff seems reasonable . Seems they are all out of touch being that it took a parent to bring it to attention.

Stating the obvious

The nazi flag is a symbol of what can happen when people act like lemmings and follow an evil idea. This is facism. That being said, Hartline would make a great nazi. Her complaint about her black child seeing the flag in classroom with primarily white students has led the teacher to be "made" to remove the flag. This, too, is facism. Liberals are the new facists. They "make" people do/undo things that offend them. Nothing make make a liberal/facist happier than to find something new to be offended by.

Copper

Seriously grow up! It’s fascist to be offended by a symbol of hate and racism being prominently displayed in a classroom for weeks? Nice attempt at projection but you make zero sense. Liberals who stand up against hate and the symbols of hate are fascists is utterly ridiculous . So with that concept people of color or women standing up against civil right oppression is fascist as well? Germany outlawed any display of the nazi flag in 1940’s get over it and get with the times. Yes I am offended by hate symbols hate speech hate laws and hate mongers . I for one am proud Hartline had the depth of character and bravery to stand up for what is right even in the face of sociopatjic projectors trying to tell people that there’s is something wrong with that. I can only hope that more people will continue to stand up against hate and force these racist xenophobic homophobic deplorables back into the holes they popped their heads out of when their pathetic excuse for a president came into power. Rise up liberals and continue to squash hate every where and anywhere you see it . And please vote until not one “hater” in left in office.

GaryJohns

I want all history teachers to fly the Confederate flag during their Civil War units and watch all the libbies commenting on this page immediately wet themselves....

Copper

Very mature Gary Johns . This does not contribute to a thoughtful discussion or debate at all. I will assume that you believe symbols of hate death and intolerance are just fine and should be laughed at. I will also assume that you belong in the basket of deplorables as well

Vico17

"Liberals see racism where it does not exist, fabricate it when they can’t find it and ignore it when it is one of their own." Carla D'Addesi
#VirginaGovernor(D)RalphNortham: didn't he run a commercial accusing his opponent Ed Gallespie of the very same thing he actually was, a racist? Wouldn't it make sense he apologized and give his gubernatorial seat to the person he lied about and actually is a better person than he is?

Copper

Name one incident that a “liberal” saw racism where it didn’t exist? Nice blanket comment with basis in fact. If that governor was in fact in those pictures he should resign immediately. I don’t care what party he represents . Wrong is wrong.

Vico17

I did provide an example. You just don't want to see it, or read it, or acknowledge it. Northam's commercial lied about Gillespie being racist when in fact he was the one. Good now?

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/ralph-northam-gubernatorial-campaign-insinuated-ed-gillespie-gop-racist/

GaryJohns

I have read all of your comments and I have yet to find one that qualified as "thoughtful".....

Athanasios

To me the teachable lesson of the Nazi flag is that it was a symbol of what can happen to a group of people that subvert their beliefs without question to the government. The Nazi flag was the representative embodiment of HItler and Fascism and was also revered as pseudo religious symbol. The same thing can happen hear if we allow a small minority set the cultural norms for the vast majority.

Copper

If you feel the vast majority is a group of Caucasian Christian supremacists who have no issue of a symbol of hate being flown in a classroom ,then I would hope the “minority’s” would set the cultural norm . Of decency respect and sensitivity to others race, religion, and culture. I believe it was a small minority who opposed slavery in the beginning, a small minorty who believed people of color and women should have right to vote, a small minority who believed all people should have equal civil rights, all belief that all people should have same civil rights regardless of whom they love. So yes “small minority’s” keep up the good work , do not let hate speech , symbols of hate and the dismissive attitudes stop you from creating more positive change in this country .contjnie tonstand up and denounce what is wrong , even if it is under the guise of teaching children.

Copper

I wonder if the same people who think it’s no big deal and cool to hang a nazi flag as a teaching tool would also think it’s ok to hang a satanic flag for weeks in the classroom when teaching about freedom of religion? I didn’t think so. There are just some things that are acceptable to display and not to display . If you want that hanging outside your home , it’s a free country so be it. Don’t cry when you have to suffer the consequences of your ignorance. Like losing your job. When you are dealing with the public it is a different ball game. A teacher was just fired for participating in questionable activities on her free time ( probably trying to supplement her teachers salary) bless her heart. But when you are in a public position such as politics, teaching, public service, or even heads of businesses, it is important to ask yourself , would the general population have any offense to this behavior or find anything in appropriate about what I’m doing, saying, or displaying? If the answer is well maybe. Then you probably shouldn’t do it or suffer the consequences.

She Dee

I think it's somewhat ODD that no one in this day & age seems to mind that the US Flag , which represents so much repression, is never mentioned. I know it was designed to be the sign of freedom....but really, it is our own version of the Swastika here in the US. I see nothing wrong with what the teacher was attempting to convey to the students...I just wish the Parents could go back to school to get a "proper" education & leave their pre-conceived notions out of their children's lives!!!

Copper

That’s a reach about the United States flag. Yes for many it is a symbol of genocide and racism and oppression as well , but this is the country we live in . You also have the right to not stand even kneel during the honoring of our flag. I still put my hand over my heart and feel patriotic even though I don’t agree with everything that this country has participated in. We can only try to move forward and make it better , which I believe most of us or at least half of us Americans are trying to do.

GaryJohns

Tissue...?

Copper

Troll..?

She Dee

Well Copper, then I guess you never got smacked for refusing to salute the flag & I bet you were never around during the days when anyone who dared to wrap an American Flag around their shoulders was beaten & arrested for doing so. We were called "dirty hippies" & told to leave America! Those days are returning hard & fast my friends...hard & fast, just like they did during the days of the Nazi regime. Open your eyes & see the light.

BanditIvy

Another ignorant liberal parent with absolutely no clue.

Copper

Hanging this flag as if it’s being honored in completely tone deaf whether it was ill intentioned or not. You Banditivy are the ignorant.

She Dee

@Banditity-
Really? What makes you think she's a liberal? I came away with thinking she was a conservative with very little real life experience living in a multicultural environment.

Copper

The only ignorance I can see from this stream of posts is the many men who can only debate with calling people kindergarten level names.

BakoMark

Is this town so full of idiots that they cannot view a flag during ww2 in history class. The number of people that believe the Holocaust didnt even happen is staggering, let alone the sensitivity of some. Great job Hartline. You are my cantidate for overreaction of the year.

Copper

You can teach history without hanging a symbol of death and racism. Grow up BakoMark and get a clue.

She Dee

Copper, during the days when the Nazi's were taking over, people were starving. Hitler was able to manipulate people by feeding them! My own Mother was asked to join the party when she was a young girl & attended a local picnic in a park where the Brown Shirts were recruiting American Youth into the Nazi Party!!!

Stating the obvious

So the historical item has been taken down due to whiners.
Liberalism + facism.
Those people are DESPERATE to find anything they claim can offend them. Very sad.

She Dee

@Stating the obvious- I happen to be a Liberal & it don't see anything wrong with what this teacher was attempting to convey. So please don't try to paint us all with a broad stroke. It takes all kinds.

Copper

Symbols of genocide and racism doesn’t offend you stating the obvious? Hmm maybe you agree with what that flag stands for.

freemanrebel1

When I was in high school we went to the Museum of Tolerance in LA on a field trip. It is a Holocaust museum. There was original SS uniforms displayed with Nazi flags and other artifacts. What's the big deal?

Copper

Being on display at a museum and hanging this flag for weeks inside a classroom is not the same . I wonder if this teacher also taught the atrocities that happens under this flag as well? Or if he just thought it was cool?

ibmo68

For those of you jumping on the commenter that asked to have the teachers name stated, the original article did not include that information! It's been updated! With all the bashing going on in the comments, it seems the subject of this article brings about the kind of negative emotions that one would conclude is the very reason the parent took issue in the first place!

freemanrebel1

This is a World War II capture. This as much represents the GI's that defeated fascism as anything. It is a war trophy. Any history teacher who would not display a war trophy they where given in the context of teaching the subject matter isn't worth his salt in my opinion. You folks need to really think about what you are asking and what you are saying here. He didn't get this flag off ebay.

Copper

A war trophy? Should we hang the cut off ears of the Viet Congress don’t as well? Lame agrument

GaryJohns

The dictionary is your friend.....

Five5

The flag was taken during the war. It is not because the teacher is a Nazi. He is a history teacher showing historic items. The flag has been there for years. He’s actually one of the best teachers at Frontier. Get a life. Don’t worry, it will be removed more than likely because everyone is offended by everything.

Copper

This is exactly why my child did not attend this school and we opted for a transfer. A bunch of racist entitled tone deaf ignorant group of staff parents and unfortunately teaching their children to be he same. Wow

GaryJohns

Poor special ed program....?

Copper

Nice try not that there is anything wrong with human beings who are in special Ed. So now Gary Johns you are mocking special needs people? Pathetic. But FYI my son ranks 98 percentile in intelligence tests and my daughter is halfway through earning her doctorate degree. You know mocking and minimizing and name calling is a sign of sociopathic behavior. Taking cues from Putin’s president Trump I guess.

Stating the obvious

lrlopez74, you are a true idiot. Your post "demands" that the identity of the teacher be revealed. Um.....it's in the article. Apparently you did NOT even read it.

Copper

If there’s no shame or anything wrong with what this teacher did and not a big deal then why would it be a big deal to post his name? I for one would not allow my child to attend his class. Based of his ignorance alone. What if their was a Jewish child in this class who had to sit under this flag hung up as being honored ? Get with the times people. No wonder this town is so full racism ignorance and idiocy

GaryJohns

Yet....here you are....

She Dee

Copper, I happen to have Jewish Blood in my veins & I wish that when I attended High School (in Bakersfield), that we had some teachers who would have allowed us to sit in a room & get the feel of the old days when the swastika was not as feared as it seems to be today!

Stating the obvious

Hartline sounds like a liberal separately looking for something to be offended by. It's not a racial issue, it is teaching history. People like Hartline are the real racists- trying to make everything they see/hear/think somehow a "racial" issue. Grow up.

Copper

It represent racism and genicide . I guess stating the obvious would be cool to hang a noose up in class while teaching about the lynching of African Americans during history class.

phowe

Perhaps the 74 in Irlopez74's ID is a recognition of his IQ. He certainly has difficulty in expressing himself. Seems to think capitals are necessary to make a point and doesn't know that obscenities are a crutch used by illiterate and/or lazy people; those who simply cannot think of appropriate alternative adjectives. The guy is obviously limited in his abilities. Glad he's not my neighbor.

freemanrebel

There is nothing wrong with teaching history and displaying historical symbols in context which is exactly what this teacher is doing.

Copper

Hanging that flag is 100 percent wrong sad your to ignorant to see that .

phowe

It's extremely unreasonable to expect to learn only "good" things in school. It's equally unreasonable to demand insulation from unpleasant images or images that conjure unpleasant thoughts. The fact is that no one in our country has a right not to be offended; a fact we should all understand and appreciate.

That many of us are offended by the swastika is a very good thing. It suggests the durability of our common knowledge. How do we pass the knowledge on without showing the image? That flag is better shown and discussed in school than in the hands of some screaming, racist, nitwit thug at a "protest" rally.

By the way, how many know that the symbol of the swastika was once a symbol of good luck in Holland and Belgium? When the National Socialists grabbed the symbol as it's party's "trademark" it was certainly not lucky for those countries invaded by the Germans.

Copper

Umm you can teach it without displaying a hate symbol for weeks . Silly reasonjng

bobspapa

For those of you not living in the real world...that flag didn't do anything to anyone. The people who rallied around it did. If we're going to start demonizing historical inanimate objects, we could easily lump the union jack or the stars and stripes in there as well. I for one will not be taking the badges off my Triumph of Mini. So unless the teacher is bringing in Jews or homosexuals to gas, lighten up. Reactionary twits.

Copper

Symbols of hatred and death are wrong and you babspapa are clearly racist . And yes the confederate flag is offensive and so is he MAGA hat probably on your head

GaryJohns

Racist... Ray-cist…Noun: a person that defeats a liberal in a debate, election or argument…

REMUDA

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. To covet truth is a very distinguished passion."-- George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) -- a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.
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https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana
------------------
"To increase its appeal to larger segments of the population, on the same day as Hitler's Hofbräuhaus speech on 24 February 1920, the DAP changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei ("National Socialist German Workers' Party", or Nazi Party")
-----------
wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Party
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Not to worry . . . reminders of evil are as important as reminders of good.
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Semper Fortis . . . !

SiNCiTY

I couldn't agree more with George Santayana. I'm Jewish and don't have a problem with them presenting materials to talk about in class. However, I do think that going to the museum of tolerance would be more beneficial to the schools. In the
museum everyone has to come through two doors one is marked Prejudiced. The other door, which is locked and has a big sign on think now... use other door, was labeled Unprejudiced. Even if you say you are not prejudiced you are. We make decisions about people every day which is prejudging them even if we don't admit it.
Also per the sex education comment about pictures, it would make the class more interesting in my humble opinion.

Michelleh180

So now your making this all about you instead of leaving it where it belongs. It's a history class teaching our children about the holocaust let it be just that

SiNCiTY

Thank you Michelleh180 for your comment but I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to say. Please help me to understand how anyone is making this about them? Since you replied to my comment I'm assuming you meant me. I called my Rabbi immediately after this post and he found it offensive, I didn't. In his opinion he had no issue with presenting it but take it down after the presentation. I myself didn't agree or find it offensive. I grew up in this town and had to fight skin heads as a young adult because I have had issues with this symbol. I agree it is a history lesson the comment that I agreed and replied to was about George Santayana Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Scribner’s, 1905: 284).

Copper

The issue I believe is not whether it was taught about in school but that it was displayed for weeks hanging . It could have been shown and then put away

Stephen

It's part of a history lesson. We don't need to get all excited about an image in a photo. Chill.

Copper

It was not an image in a photo . It was a nazi flag being hung up in class for weeks .

lrlopez74

WTF is this teacher doing with a Nazi flag? Did the teacher just happen to have one at home in their closet? VERY SUSPICIOUS. Name the teacher so those of us who give a sh-t about racial justice can do the job the KHSD refuses to do.

KenWitham

Read it again for updates. Stop issuing threats and let the school district do their job.

Copper

Thank you exactly.

lrlopez74

Dear Bakersfield,
WHAT IN THE F-CK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? This teacher needs to be fired IMMEDIATELY. If the teacher is not fired, her name needs to be publicly released so we can protest in front of her Nazi-loving home.

freemanrebel

Hey moron. If you had actually read the article you would know the Nazi flag came from a World War II vet that brought it home. You would also know the name of the teacher is right in the article you idiot. Low IQ Lopez 74 this teacher is teaching about the holocaust and the second world war. History is important if you have an IQ over 74 buddy.

Copper

Lopez is clearly more intelligent than any of you people who seem to think this is ok to display for weeks in a classroom in the 21 st century

Schmeach

Her name? Okay. HER name is "David Gaeta" as the article clearly states, more than once.

Django

Did you read the article? It’s a history lesson, a rather profound and disturbing lesson at that.

Nevermind

Says the guy who obviously didn't bother to actually read the article

BakoMark

Maybe swllow what Salazar was before spewing your junk/opinion.

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