ALBERTA

Alberta Schools Look To Suspend Trips Over Terrorism Fears

12/09/2015 11:39 EST | Updated 12/09/2015 11:59 EST
Shutterstock / Brandon Bourdages

EDMONTON — More Alberta school boards are grappling with what to do about international student field trips in light of recent terror attacks.

On Wednesday, the Black Gold Regional Division south of Edmonton is to discuss options after sending an online survey to parents asking for feedback.

The survey asks: "As a result of recent terrorism events should the board of education suspend all international travel?''

Carmen Stone, a communications official with Black Gold, said answers have been mixed, but some parents of junior and senior high school students are worried.

"Parents are nervous. A lot of our feedback has been 'Let's suspend travel for awhile at least.' To suspend it for at least a year is some of the pushback we have been getting,'' Stone said Tuesday.

Other parents believe the trips should go ahead, she said.

"As a result of recent terrorism events should the board of education suspend all international travel?''

The Edmonton and Calgary public school boards have put student international trips on hold pending decisions by senior administrators expected before the December holiday break.

"Recent global events have caused us to take time to reflect on trips outside of Canada,'' reads a notice posted on the Calgary board's website.

"This means that schools are not making any immediate decisions about trips, including cashing any cheques or collecting any fees.''

The board has sent an online survey to parents seeking direction. The deadline for responding is Thursday.

"Recent global events have caused us to take time to reflect on trips outside of Canada."

Edmonton public school officials have said parents have expressed concerns about the safety of their children.

The board estimates there are about 70 trips planned for the school year that involve 1,500 students.

On Monday, the Edmonton Catholic School District cancelled all of its international trips for the rest of the school year. It cited concerns about growing violence around the world, including mass shootings in Paris and California.

The Calgary Catholic School District has also cancelled all international travel over safety concerns, but has not specifically mentioned violence.

The Alberta School Boards' Insurance Exchange has told school boards that it has concerns regarding international travel for student groups.

"Terrorist attacks and events are not new, but they do seem to be growing in number and (are) now in historic and tourist destinations with more loss of lives and destruction,'' reads a recent bulletin on international travel.

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