Beal high school backtracks on cancelling course in theatre program

A London high school has reinstated a course in its musical theatre program that was previously cancelled for the semester after the initial move received online backlash.

The cancellation made news earlier this week when Olivia Ho, a Grade 12 student at H. B. Beal Secondary School, posted on social media, saying one of the three courses in the school’s prestigious musical theatre program had been cancelled for the semester.

Ho’s post garnered more than 200 comments, with many condemning the change and some fearing for the program’s future.

In a release that followed, the school referred to the change as a “normal part of the staffing and scheduling process,” citing a decrease in enrolment as a reason for the cancellation.

Beal’s principal, Tracy Langelaan, later told Global News the program’s drama course would be collapsed into its corresponding music and dance courses, with students still receiving all three credits that come with the program.

“The musical theatre program at Beal is not threatened. Musical theatre will be offered next year,” Langelaan said at the time.

She added that the decision was made on a case-by-case basis and that the course would be brought back next year if enrolment picked up again.


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On Thursday morning, school officials informed Global News the drama course from Beal’s musical theatre program had been reinstated for the semester.

Langelaan said the decision was made following consultation with staff, students and community members. The principal said the reinstatement of the course was done with support from senior administration at the Thames Valley District School Board, which counts Beal as one of its schools.

“To be able to press the reset button… it’s certainly a relief on my end and, more importantly, for the students,” Langelaan said.


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Students affected by the previous cancellation were informed of the change on Thursday.

“It was nice to be able to walk in and address the students with much better news than I had greeted them with previously,” Langelaan said.

“They were absolutely elated and relieved.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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