Penticton athletes over-exposed

Student athletes will be directed to not strip down court-side, following a parent complaint.

Student athletes will be directed to not strip down court-side, following a parent complaint.

In a letter to the Okanagan Skaha school board, Jo Ann Parliament wrote she was “shocked” at a volleyball tournament earlier this month when girls in Grades 9 and 10 switched from their warm-up outfits into their uniforms right on the gym floor, rather than going to a change room.

“With cell phones and cameras always handy, I am concerned that a picture may get out there for all to see. Or that a video of the girls in their sports bras may appear on YouTube,” said Parliament.

“If the girls cannot see how this behaviour might not be in their best interests, shouldn’t we as adults be willing to step in to protect our youth?”

She went on to ask the board to create a policy requiring students to change clothes out of public view.

Superintendent Wendy Hyer confirmed female athletes routinely slip into and out of their uniforms on gym floors.

“I was officiating a basketball game last week and it occurred, and the students’ parents were standing right beside them at the bench,” she told the school board at its meeting Monday.

However, she noted the athletes’ sports bras “cover more than most bathing suits.”

In response to the parent letter, school trustees voted this week not to create a new policy, which some felt would be difficult to enforce, and instead have Hyer send a message through principals to coaches reminding them students of both genders should change out of public view whenever possible.

Trustee Ginny Manning said coaches should  consider the circumstances and, as part of their repertoire is good judgment, direct students to behave in an appropriate way.

“And perhaps that’s not getting changed out in the gym,” said Manning.