The Sea to Sky School Board voted four to one to start Late French Immersion at Signal Hill Elementary School in September.
At a public meeting held last week, parents and locals spoke mostly in favour of the issue. Some of those attending the meeting had travelled from as far away as Skatin, B.C.
"The vibe was really good, there was a very broad range of speakers and we heard from the N'Quatqua from D'Arcy, the Lil'wat in Mt. Currie and from staff at the school as well as a range of community members," said District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) President Cathy Jewett.
"It was a good thing because certainly there has been a lot of concern about how the First Nations would view this and they were quite positive, though with a proviso that they want to see their language also taught."
Though immersion programs have existed for some time in Squamish and Whistler there has not been a program in Pemberton. Parents who supported it worried that their children weren't receiving equal access to programs that students elsewhere have. Unlike early French immersion, which starts in Kindergarten, late French immersion is introduced in Grade Five, Six and Seven.
The majority of the opposition to the program has come from teachers who have raised concerns that immersion, which requires separate classes, would divide the student body and undo an established cultural balance in classrooms.