Montreal Teacher Suspended After Showing Students His Music Video

"I doubt that I would be going through these problems if I looked like Justin Bieber"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Dec 1, 2021

A Montreal area teacher has been suspended from his job over a music video he made.

Chad Ashe, a 34-year-old high-school teacher in Châteauguay, told Global News that showing students an excerpt of a video for his song "Wahala" led to a 10-day minimum suspension by the New Frontiers School Board south of Montreal.

"I doubt that I would be going through these problems if I looked like Justin Bieber," Ashe told Global News in an interview on Sunday, adding, "I've built my career carefully for these last five years. To tarnish that with something so frivolous is absolutely outrageous."

Ashe explained that the video viewing came as part of an icebreaker activity for his class. "I ask my students to give me 10 things I should know about them," he detailed, "and that gives me a bunch of cues like how good they can speak, how nervous they are around me."

He claims that students asked him about his life outside of the classroom, leading him to show the video for "Wahala," which you can find below.

Directed by Montreal production house InviteOnly, the clip finds Ashe and partner Kim Landerman palling around by a pool, enjoying a day with hot food, cool drinks and each other. By all accounts, it's a PG-rated affair. 

"The song is about not having problems and just enjoying love and enjoying your significant other and having fun doing it. It's as simple as that, and a lot of my music has to do with that," Ashe told Global News, writing in the video's description, "Wahala is Nigeria pidgin. Wahala means 'Trouble', and its meaning can change depending on context. When someone says 'No wahala,' they could mean 'Yes' or 'No problem'."

Shortly afterwards, Ashe received a call from his employer about a parent's complaint. "The principal said I was suspended because I was in a bathing suit with my girlfriend in my music video," Ashe told Global news. "How else are you supposed to be dressed by a pool? How many couples that are in love have a drink by the pool?"

"It could have been the same situation with an acoustic guitar and I would have been white, I really don't think I'd be in this position," Ashe continued. "I think because of the tattoos, because of how I dress, because of the jewelry, because of the dreads, because of the high top, because of the fade — it causes a problem."

A statement sent to Global News by school board executive director Rob Buttars reads, "The New Frontiers School Board cannot share any details regarding Mr. Ashe's current situation, as everything is still under review. We can confirm, however, that it is concerns expressed by parents ­— concerns that we take very seriously — that are at the root of the situation in which we now find ourselves with Mr. Ashe… We are working with Mr. Ashe to address those concerns and to resolve the situation in the best interests of all parties involved."

In St. Catharines, ON, this past October, parents tried to remove a principal for being an Iron Maiden fan, alleging that her fandom meant an "allegiance to Satanic practices."

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