Former MonAvenir Catholic School Board (CSC) high school science teacher Chanel Pfahl is being investigated by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) for remarks and postings she made opposing critical race theory in schools.
“This is what teachers in Ontario are being investigated for nowadays,” said Pfahl in a tweet on Tuesday. “It looks like I will be needing a lawyer.”
Pfahl, who quit her position at CSC in Aug. 2021, included the email detailing the two allegations against her in her tweet.
The first allegation involves a comment that she made about lesson ideas for Black History Month in a private Facebook group for Ontario teachers in 2021.
“Kids aren’t in school to be indoctrinated with critical race theory,” she had said. “Focus on modelling kindness to everyone and speak out against any form of discrimination you see.”
She had added that standing up to discrimination includes the discrimination brought on by anti-racist movements themselves.
The second allegation is that she shared a YouTube video called “Teachers presenting white privilege as fact are breaking the law, warns minister” in the same Facebook group in 2021.
The video shows British equalities state minister Kemi Badenoch speaking out against critical race theory in UK schools.
“I want to be absolutely clear – this government stands unequivocally against critical race theory,” said Badenoch in a speech to the British House of Commons in 2020. “We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt.”
Pfahl said in an interview with True North on Wednesday that she was surprised to receive the letter with the allegations.
“In a free and democratic society, we need to value the individual and treat people with dignity based on the fact they’re a human being rather than what group they belong to,” she said. “We’re losing sight of our common humanity the more we divide people into groups based on race, gender or any other category.”
Pfahl said she is unsure about how she will respond but that she is consulting with lawyers about the next steps.
She said she is “cautiously optimistic” that her teaching licence will not be revoked.
The OCT could not provide further details about Pfahl’s case.
“By law, we are unable to comment on any individual cases nor can we confirm whether any investigation is ongoing,” said the college in a statement emailed to True North on Wednesday. “Matters related to professional misconduct are guided by the Ontario College of Teachers Act.”
The Ontario government is currently debating and likely to pass a bill that would enshrine critical race theory and its associated beliefs and practices in law, including by amending the province’s Education Act.
Bill 67 was first proposed by NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo in 2021. Much of the bill has to do with assigning school boards the responsibility of spreading anti-racist ideas.
Major critics of critical race theory – including Florida governor Ron DeSantis – have accused the movement and its perspectives of being a form of race essentialism, or the idea that your character and value is determined by your skin colour or ethnicity.
City Journal writer Christopher Rufo has called critical race theory itself a veiled form of racism.