Episode # 15
A Teacher’s Battle for Free Speech in Education | Chanel Pfahl, Part 1 – Truth Talks with Dr. Ann
December 11, 2023

Truth Talks with Dr. Ann
Truth Talks with Dr. Ann
A Teacher’s Battle for Free Speech in Education | Chanel Pfahl, Part 1 - Truth Talks with Dr. Ann

In this episode of Truth Talks, Dr. Ann Gillies interviews Chanel Pfahl, a teacher from Ottawa, about her journey and experiences with the school system. Chanel discusses how she initially supported the Black Lives Matter movement and the backlash that followed once she began questioning the narrative.

Chanel is a former high school educator. She uses her online presence to champion truth while challenging critical race theory and LGBTQ indoctrination.

Follow Chanel on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChanLPfa


You can find Dr. Ann’s books, newsletters, and other information at https://RestoringTheMosaic.ca

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See Podcast Transcript

Dr. Ann Gillies (00:13):

Hello everyone. Thanks for listening to Truth Talks. Today, I have a friend with me from Ottawa, a young woman who is a teacher, and she’s going to talk a little bit about her journey, and you’re going to enjoy this because Chanel has been digging for a long time, ever since some things happened to her with her school and the whole school system. So, we’re going to talk about all those things. So, Chanel Pfahl is with me. Chanel welcome today. Thank you for joining me.

Chanel Pfahl (00:47):

Thank you for inviting me.

Dr. Ann Gillies (00:49):

I’m excited. Yeah,

Chanel Pfahl (00:50):

We’ve been in touch for, I think we said two years now. We’ve never done, I

Dr. Ann Gillies (00:55):

Think you

Chanel Pfahl (00:56):

Live, but we’ve seen each other in person a few times and chatted privately on Zoom and all that, so it’s nice to finally do this.

Dr. Ann Gillies (01:04):

Yeah, we’ve been going to do this show for a long time, and then I don’t know, things go on and anyway, so now it’s the right time. So you were reminding me before we got came on that we actually met after you had posted some things online about critical race theory. So why don’t you start there and what happened to you. We’re not going to go deep dive into critical race theory right now. I just want to talk more about you, but just give us some general outline of what got you in this battle, a little bit about your teaching experience, those kinds of things.

Chanel Pfahl (01:42):

Sure. So I was just a regular teacher. I was teaching science in high school and I wasn’t really politically involved at all, and Black Lives Matter. Well, George Floyd and all that happened, and then it started to really seep into my life. There was no way that I could get away from it. I had to either be with it or against it, and at first I was with it because I felt that was the only path I felt like, yeah, this is right. We have to fight against racism and all this stuff. And then well, okay, maybe this is beyond the scope of your question, but I’ll just explain a little bit how I woke up first.

Dr. Ann Gillies (02:25):

That’s fine.

Chanel Pfahl (02:27):

So I had a professor in university who taught me one biology course, and then he supervised my thesis and I had a lot of respect for him. He was a really fantastic professor, and in the time of Black Lives Matter, all that stuff, he posted something on Twitter that got him canceled. And what it was was like, we are all evolved from single celled organisms as a biology professor would say. And so basically, racism is stupid and we should all just stop being racist. And then he hashtagged All Lives Matter, and that is not allowed. So, he got mobbed and I defended him right away because it felt like the right thing to do. I knew his character, I knew he wasn’t racist, and this was just ridiculous to me. And then I learned that that was not okay. I got deleted on Facebook by a few people and I got hateful messages and all that, and then I started to think, what the heck is happening?


Wow, we can’t even have a normal discussion about this and disagree and still be friends. This is crazy. So anyway, that summer I decided social media was just a little crazy. I got off of it completely, which allowed me to have sort of the space to explore other ideas and not be so stressed out about everything going on. I ended up discovering the Joe Rogan podcast, and I listened to him quite a bit, and I listened to all kinds of guests, guests on his show, and they really opened my mind to a whole different worldview where your group identity isn’t everything, and we have to be grateful for the society we have, and we have to contribute to it rather than just complain about everything and be ungrateful and hope that things will work out and bring us to some utopia and the future. That’s not how it works.


So anyway, my whole worldview shifted. I went back to school, then things started rubbing me the wrong way because the school was pushing a certain narrative that I didn’t agree with, and soon I started to just share other perspectives on my Facebook page. Not much. I was cautious. I knew exactly the kind of environment I was in, and it was dangerous to do, but I am just that kind of person, I guess. I don’t want to play along if I don’t believe something is right or true or whatever. So, I just ended up posting stuff and not really seeing if I agreed or not, but sort of just putting the ideas out there. And I got a little more bold as time went on. And in February there was this post by a teacher in a Facebook group, a private Facebook group for teachers, and it was like, oh, I’m looking for resources to teach about Black Lives Matter, blah, blah, blah.


And I thought, well, that’s not really a good idea because Black Lives Matter is a political movement, and you shouldn’t be teaching kids this biased. Well, you shouldn’t be indoctrinating kids with this kind of race politics stuff. So, I commented, I said something like, schools should be nonpartisan. You should model kindness, but we shouldn’t be indoctrinating kids. Someone reported me, The next day at school, I got a letter telling me I was under investigation. I was able to teach for that whole month, and then one day a month later, they pulled me out of class and they tell me, okay, so you’re going to be suspended for a week, no pay. You can’t have contact with parents, with students, with anyone. You can’t come on to school property. So, I’m basically being treated as a criminal because one person decided to be offended by a comment that I posted.

Dr. Ann Gillies (06:40):

Because you had an opinion. Because you had an opinion.

Chanel Pfahl (06:44):

Yeah, exactly. Because we should treat all kids equally. Exactly. It’s so absurd. So, we cater to the people who are the most offended. So anyway, then I went back to school and it was awkward because I guess the word probably got around and I was starting to feel a bit ostracized, and people knew my views were just dissenting and not a lot. So anyway, then, then that kind of simmered down. I wasn’t a super loud voice or anything. I just kept somewhat quiet, but I didn’t back down from those opinions. A whole year later, the Ontario College of Teachers, which is the regulatory body for all teachers in Ontario, sends me an email and they say, you’re under investigation. For what? Oh, for the same comment that you’ve already been investigated for by your school board a year ago. So, I’m like, okay, well, this is ridiculous.


So at that point I thought, all right, well, I’m just going to expose this whole thing and I’m going to go completely public because I’m not doing this again. This is ridiculous. And I’ve been through it once before and I didn’t have much support, and it was really isolating and just I’m not doing this. So then that’s when I wrote that article that you read and that you then contacted me about, but it was basically a piece about here’s why I oppose critical race theory, here’s what’s happening to me with the College of teachers, because I oppose critical race theory and basically, here’s why you should also oppose critical race theory. It’s extremely toxic. So, I got lawyers involved and everything. Almost a year later, they decided to drop that completely. So, nothing happened to me. I don’t know if they got intimidated. I was represented by the Democracy Fund, so I had great lawyers who said, Nope, she’s allowed to say this. She’s allowed to have her political opinion.


So they dropped that, and at that time people were telling me, oh, wow, this is really great news. Things are changing. And I was in the back of my mind. I was like, no, you don’t understand. This is just they’re never going to stop coming after me. They don’t like what I’m doing. I’m putting my opinion there. I’m not backing down. I’ve also been exposing a lot of what’s happening in schools, which I’ll get into later, but I just thought, no, this is not how this ends. I knew something else was going to come my way. And a month later I got another email telling me I’m under investigation because I posted a tweet. Well, it was a Twitter thread about a presentation that a fourth grade teacher prepared for Transgender Awareness Week, which I think we’ll get into later also maybe in detail. Yes. So, they didn’t like that they started investigating me for that. They also started investigating me. Oh, you know what? The first one was something else, and then this one came later. So right now I’m being investigated by the Ontario College of Teachers for two separate claims, and both of them have to do with something I posted on Twitter. So here we are.

Dr. Ann Gillies (10:18):

Here you are. Sorry,

Chanel Pfahl (10:20):

Long-winded answer.

Dr. Ann Gillies (10:21):

No, no. I really wanted you to share that because people have to understand that this isn’t just so in the battle out and you’re done kind of thing if you choose to make statements of truth, because this is truth. And that’s why I so appreciate you Chanel, and when we’ve talked. I just really appreciate you because for me, we individually are unique. We’re unique as human beings, but we have innate dignity. I have this deep faith in God, and that gives me my identity, actually, and it gives me dignity. And it also, for me, it really constructs the way I look at other people. And when I see other people, I don’t see a label. I see a human being, and it doesn’t matter what color they are. I mean, I had hoped that we had thrown away the racist stuff years ago, and I mean, I’ll just give you a little highlight.


My mom’s going to be 90 in May, but this would’ve been 50 years ago. So, I am getting old, what can I say? I was a teenager then, but my cousin married a black woman. I loved her. Oh, she was so good as a teenager, you’re looking, and she was fabulous. And after they came to visit, and they’d been up a few times, my mom said to me, and she was very racist, very paranoid, very superstitious. I mean, I love my mom. And she said to me, I wish they’d stick to their own kind. And I remember, this is 50 years ago, turning to my mom and saying, and what kind would that be, mom? I was so mad, and I just don’t see us in that same place where we were like when my mom was growing up, we are not. And yet here we are being thrown back into this and it makes me angry.


So when I read that, and I’ve forgotten the content of it, but I know that I was very impressed by what you said, how you articulated what you were understanding, and that you as a teacher were brave enough to shout something out. Because for me, this has been a long trajectory of fighting for truth and freedom of speech in the marketplace. And critical race theory was actually new on my scope at that point in time. I really didn’t understand too much about it, but I knew immediately, oh my goodness, this sounds more of the same. Let’s make sure everybody thinks the same, does the same. We’re not unique as individuals, and we can’t celebrate that. We have to just, instead, we want to celebrate diversity but not uniqueness, and we want to cast everyone in this same mold that we’re all white people are racist, and it’s just gotten worse since then. So, we’ve met several times and we’ve had lots of good discussions, which I so appreciate. So, you aren’t teaching now though?

Chanel Pfahl (13:42):

No, I haven’t taught. So, I taught from 2017 to 2021, so four years. And then right now I’m dealing with an autoimmune condition, which is why I can’t teach. But either way, you and I both know that if I wanted to teach right now, it would not happen. I mean, unless maybe there was a private school that was completely anti woke, but even then they would probably be afraid that I would not give them a very good image or whatever. So yeah.

Dr. Ann Gillies:

I’ve been deleted by probably half the teachers I worked with on Facebook and stuff. A lot of them keep me there, and they just don’t say anything. So, I’m not really sure what they think. I don’t know if it’s because they deep down support me, but they’re scared to say it or they just hate me and they want to keep tabs on me or something. I don’t know. But that’s fine. I’m not really looking for any kind of for validation or anything from anyone. I’m kind of just happy to put my views out there, and if you disagree, that’s fine, and if you don’t, that’s okay. I think that’s what comes with waking up to all this madness, is that you learn to separate your identity from your ideas.

Dr. Ann Gillies:

Awesome. I love that line.

Chanel Pfahl:

Now, I don’t take it personal if someone’s disagreeing with my ideas, because it doesn’t make me feel like, oh, I’m stupid. I’m dumb. I had a bad opinion. It’s just, well, they disagreed with it, and does their opinion have merit? And I can reevaluate, and that’s fine. And maybe I’ll learn something. Maybe I’ll know that whatever I posted was wrong or slightly off or whatever, or maybe I’ll have a better argument and that’s how it should be. Right?

Dr. Ann Gillies:

Exactly. Exactly. And the culture, of course, as you know, it is against ideas that don’t fit with a particular narrative or worldview. And you talked about it right at the beginning that you’ve changed your worldview. And I think since that time, since 2021, a lot of people have been changing their worldview because people like you, Chanel have not just backed away from the hard things, and that you’re willing to put yourself out there with other ideas and thoughts and challenge people to think critically, to think, is this really right? Is what I’m hearing and seeing over here? Does it line up with what I understand to be true? Are those kind of things? And of course, we hear, well, your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. And I remember years and decades ago hearing that and thinking, that’s not really right. There are truths that are unquestionable. And so we’re here at this stage in our society that really we’re having a lot of problems in our school system. And tell me about any of the children. They would’ve known that probably, I mean, things get around, word gets around that some of your students might have known that you were in trouble by the powers that be, did any of them have any contact with you or reach out? I mean, I’m not trying to put them on the spot, but

Chanel Pfahl:

Yeah. Well, at the time, actually, I don’t think any of the students knew. I don’t think for that last year, I was also still kind of waking up. I’ll say it takes a while to kind of shift everything around. So there were some ideas that I was still somewhat on board with and some that I weren’t, that I wasn’t. And I don’t think the students would’ve suspected anything because they knew that I was fairly okay with all of it the year before. So why would they suspect that everything changed? I mean, I led the Pride Club at my school for two years. I think I did stuff like that where they wouldn’t associate me with anything. Right.

Dr. Ann Gillies:

Yeah. And this is the other thing. It’s not that you haven’t been involved and supportive of a particular narrative, but somehow to me, it is pretty amazing that you actually woke to the, not woke as in the woke culture, but you awakened to some pretty deep truths. So, we’re going to talk, we’re do a couple shows, and those shows are going to be, the first one is going to be about the LGBTQ indoctrination in the classroom, and then another show on critical race theory itself. So right now, you’re kind of still doing a fair bit of online presence. You took a break from Twitter, but you came back and you have a lot of people following you now, and I think a lot of people who you have woken up, and that’s huge.

Chanel Pfahl:

Yeah, I hope so. I mean, I get a lot of teachers who follow me and they appreciate what I do. They don’t feel like they, they can talk about it. I haven’t actually really taken a Twitter break. I actually was a late bloomer. I didn’t come onto Twitter until 2020. And at that point, I was just kind of observing very minimally, not really tweeting much or anything. And when I got into, it was a few months later when I decided, okay, this is my position and I’m against all this stuff. It shouldn’t be in schools. But yeah, I’m still a very active on Twitter now. As I was saying to you, I might lay low for the next month or so for the holidays. Just take a little refresher. I think it’s needed for everyone and in the new year, just keep going. But yeah, I find a lot of examples of what is happening specifically in schools. Mostly it’s just teachers who are proud of what they’re doing, and they post it online saying, look at what I did today. Look what I taught my students, and I’ll just repost that and see where it was. And I try not to comment on it too much. I try to sort of just put it out there and people can make their own opinions about it.

Dr. Ann Gillies:

And that’s been very helpful because it’s hard to access information that’s going on inside the school and inside the classroom because the children who, and there’s many children who are very upset about it, actually. I’ve talked to several, but they can’t speak out. It’s difficult for an adult, let alone a child. So, we are going to post your Twitter link at the end of this show, and then we’re going to come back and do another one next week on the LGBTQ and do a deep dive of what’s happening into the education system on that level. So, any final things for today’s show that you want to share, Chanel?

Chanel Pfahl:

No, not really. I just encourage everybody to get as much info as you can and get involved as much as possible. Because this is the fight of our lives. I think there’s nothing really more important than fighting for the future of your children and of your country. So, it’s not something you can just sit out of and go and sit Mars on the beach, like you should try to do something good for this call.

Dr. Ann Gillies:

Awesome. And watch Joe Rogan, obviously that had a huge impact. We should write him a note. Anyways, thank you for joining us today, and we’ll talk again later.

Chanel Pfahl:

Perfect. Thank you.

Dr. Ann Gillies:

Thank you everyone for watching today. I hope you enjoyed getting to meet and know Chanel Pfahl, and I really encourage you to check out her Twitter. She posts regularly. So, what you saw today, what we talked about was just a general background, but we are going to talk next week, more specifically on the LGBTQ indoctrination. Thank you for watching. Again, go to my website, www.restoringthemosaic.ca for more information to be able to order my books. And please, if you would consider donating to this project, I would greatly appreciate that. Thanks again. Have a great week.


You’ve been listening to Truth Talks with Dr. Ann. Thank you so much for joining us today. You can find Anne’s books, blog, and sign up for the newsletter by going to RestoringTheMosaic.ca

Restoring the Mosaic seeks to strengthen Canadian national unity by educating and informing policy-makers, legislators, and educational leaders with clinical research that will assist them to establish programs and policies that allow individuals with crises in identity to recover wholeness.

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