Parents plan semi-formal after Cape Breton school board cancels dance
Middle school dances may be a thing of the past in some maritime schools.
The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board decided to stop holding school dances for grades six to eight when it switched to a new middle school model earlier this year.
But a group of parents is organizing an unofficial semi-formal for the students off school property.
Judy Bonnar’s son Matthew is in Grade 8 at Oceanview Middle School in Glace Bay.
She’s disappointed with the board’s decision.
"They've had it all along. It was kind of a letdown, I guess, for Grade 8’s not being able to have their time,” says Bonnar.
Bonnar is helping organize the dance, which will be held at the Glace Bay Fire Hall in June.
“[The parents] want to show them that we're all very proud of them, and they should be able to have something,” she says. “I know growing up myself, junior high dances were a big part of my upbringing. We loved them. You couldn’t wait.”
But school board spokesman Donnie Holland says the traditional junior high dance model is not appropriate for 11-year-olds entering Grade 6.
Though the end-of-year semi-formal would be for Grade 8’s only, he says purchasing tuxes and gowns can be intimidating and expensive.
“It often puts a lot of social and financial pressures on families that they can't really deal with, and it's difficult for them to make decisions at the end of the year. We don't want anyone to feel like they have to be involved in an activity,” he says.
“Doing something like [the dance] has its benefits. It also has its drawbacks, as well.”
But most parents – and their children –aren’t concerned. They held a meeting Tuesday evening at the Glace Bay Fire Hall to discuss details about the dance, such as chaperoning.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald