Cape Breton Victoria school board bans middle school dances
School dances seen as inappropriate for students in Grade 6 to 8
Many Cape Breton students will have to wait until they're in Grade 9 to go to their first school dance.
The Cape Breton Victoria Regional school board has banned dances at the middle school level.
This fall, the board shifted to the middle school model, which encompasses Grades 6 to 8.
The board made its decision based on the advice of an Ohio expert on middle school curriculum, Dru Tomlin, who visited the area this spring.
"A very big part of middle school is building up positive camaraderie, cohesion and a positive school climate, " said Donnie Holland, the board's acting co-ordinator of school services.
"He (Tomlin) talked about a lot of the activities that they have done that have built that type of atmosphere and he kind of led us down the path that school dances at a middle school level weren't a great way to achieve that."
Online petition to bring back dances
Holland says the decision was made this spring.
But not all administrators were aware of it.
This week, middle schools in Glace Bay and Sydney River cancelled dances, prompting cries of protest on social media.
One parent, Stefanie White, has started an online petition asking the board to bring back the dances.
"Most kids are well behaved and appropriate for the grade level," her petition states.
"Dances were always a fun, social place for kids to get together and be normal kids. There is very little else for kids to do in any community as it is."
Holland says with the shift to Grade Six in middle school, the board is trying to find activities that are age-appropriate.
"Some of these students could be 11 years old. As a board, we felt that might not be the best way to expose them to social gatherings."
Holland says middle schools will be encouraged to hold alternate social gatherings, such as pep rallies and athletic events.