Local news becomes media circus

By Eric Unrau
Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

A student proposed dance becomes news across Canada. The news made headlines in Winnipeg and as far away as Vancouver.

The dance proposed by students of Garden Valley Collegiate in Winkler, Manitoba, to be a school sponsored activity, was rejected by the school's board of trustees in a 6 - 4 vote. The students had the full support of the teachers, but the majority of the board of trustee members felt that dances were problematic and did not support the proposed idea.

The rejected dance first made headlines in the "Winkler Times" and then appeared in the "Winnipeg Sun." All the radio talk shows got hold of the story and began interviewing trustees and students and aired the story. Then a radio station out of Winnipeg, 92 CITI FM, got hold of the story and blew it way out proportion, says Marvin Loewen one of the trustees who voted in favor of the dance.

Loewen felt the reason for all the media attention was that being a largely Mennonite community the people here are held to a higher standard. He also felt that all the publicity was not a good thing because for the most part the articles were making fun of the people and the community. However, he did go on to say that all the attention that the issue received could affect the outcome if the idea is proposed again.

"Next time I think we'll think really carefully on how we [board of trustees] decide," responded Loewen.

Check out the related story by Reg Froese of
Garden Valley Collegiate Winkler, Manitoba