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Montreal-area schools revise plans for Remembrance Day commemorations

11/04/2014 07:35 EST | Updated 01/04/2015 05:59 EST
Many Montreal schools are changing their plans for Remembrance Day and cancelling field trips to Ottawa’s National War Memorial.

The move comes after last month’s attacks on the military.

On Oct. 20, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, was killed in a deliberate hit-and-run attack in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

Two days later, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, died in a shooting at Ottawa’s National War Memorial.

“We had a trip that was planned for Ottawa. A number of schools were going to a Remembrance Day ceremony — getting on a bus. They were very excited. We've done this many years, but it was an automatic after that happened to cancel that field trip,” said EMSB spokesman Michael Cohen.

Three schools in Laval, which worked together to organize a trip to Ottawa for 22 of their students, also cancelled.

School administrators have been told to hold more subdued ceremonies and avoid marking the moment in public places.

That means for the first time in about 10 years, EMSB students at Roslyn Elementary School in Westmount won’t be marching to the Westmount cenotaph on Remembrance Day.

“The school board is being extremely vigilant and they want to make sure security is the number one concern. So we've been asked to hold local events…We're doing a number of activities, all of them in-house — primarily assemblies,” said principal Nick Katalifos.

School board officials say there's no reason to think more attacks are coming — they’re just being cautious.

Some parents, like Ayanna Bryan, say the board is being too cautious.

“I think we should be brave. We should allow our kids to be brave too and never celebrate in silence … They’re not doing a service to our kids by not allowing them to participate and remember. There are bad people, but there are also very good people who fought for us to enjoy the freedom that we enjoy,” Bryan said.

The EMSB said this year’s private ceremonies won’t be a permanent tradition and that things will go back to normal next year.

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