No reason to nix school trips abroad over safety concerns, Goodale says

EDMONTON -- Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says he knows of no reason why school boards should cancel international student trips over terrorism fears, but he says the decision is ultimately up to educators.

See Full Article

Goodale suggests school boards should consult with RCMP and other federal authorities if they are concerned.

He was responding Thursday to questions about schools boards that have cancelled trips following recent terror attacks in Paris and California.

"To the best of my knowledge at this moment, there is nothing that would particularly provoke that kind of a response, but it will be up to school boards and so forth to make their own decisions in these matters," Goodale said in Ottawa.

"What terrorists are trying to do is destroy our way of life, and we must be very clear that we're not going to give in to that kind of abuse and threat," he said. "At the same time, you have to behave prudently."

This week three school districts in Alberta suspended international student trips for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year over safety concerns.

The Black Gold Regional Division south of Edmonton said it made the decision after conferring with parents.

Johnette Lemke, chairwoman of the division's board, said the safety of students and staff cannot be put at risk.

"We are aware that some students and parents may be disappointed with this decision," Lemke said in a notice posted on the division's website.

"We had to consider several factors but, first and foremost, student and staff safety needed to be our No. 1 priority."

The Black Gold division south of Edmonton has about 10,500 students enrolled in 30 schools.

The board said it came to its decision after looking at the results of a survey.

Of the 755 people who responded, 23 per cent supported suspending all international travel, according to the board's website.

Another 57 per cent favoured suspending trips to areas for which the federal government has issued advisories warning people to exercise a high degree of caution or to avoid non-essential travel.

About 20 per cent of parents opposed suspending trips.

On Monday, the Edmonton and Calgary Catholic school districts cancelled all international trips for the rest of the school year over safety concerns.

The Edmonton public board said that, after consulting parents, it will make decisions about international trips on a case-by-case basis.

"Edmonton Public knows field trips involving travel provide invaluable learning and life experiences," Supt. Darrel Robertson said Thursday.

"Recent world events mean it's prudent for us to exercise a higher degree of scrutiny and seek a balance between what's educational and what's safe."

He said he reserves the right to cancel a field trip at any time.

The Calgary public board has put such trips on hold and is expected to make a decision soon on whether to cancel them.

The Alberta School Boards' Insurance Exchange sent out a bulletin last month that strongly recommended school districts review international travel plans.

The bulletin said terrorist attacks are not new, but seem to be growing in historic and tourist destinations with more loss of life and destruction.

The insurance exchange noted that the Islamic State's aggressive disregard for all life makes it very dangerous and volatile.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • No plan to seize Iraqi oil, U.S. defence secretary says

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD - U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday the United States does not intend to seize Iraqi oil, shifting away from an idea proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump that has rattled Iraq's leaders. Source
  • Residents concerned about flooding as California braces for another storm

    World News CTV News
    TRACY, Calif. - Some Northern California residents are preparing for another powerful Pacific storm by patrolling levees for signs of danger, reviewing evacuation plans and filling hundreds of sand bags. One resident near Tracy, which is 128 kilometres east of San Francisco, said that though the levees appear in good shape, they decided take charge after the San Joaquin River started rising. Source
  • Los Angeles ranked most congested city in world

    World News CTV News
    DETROIT -- When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Los Angeles leads the world. Drivers in the car-crazy California metropolis spent 104 hours each driving in congestion during peak travel periods last year. Source
  • Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails, prosecutors say

    World News CTV News
    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Dozens of emaciated men with sunken cheeks and protruding ribs lie silently in an infirmary at Haiti's largest prison, most too weak to stand. The corpse of an inmate who died miserably of malnutrition is shrouded beneath a plastic tarp. Source
  • Pro-immigration held across U.S. to support Muslims

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - Demonstrations were held in cities around the U.S. this weekend to support Muslim Americans and to protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies. More than a thousand people of various faiths rallied in New York City on Sunday. Source
  • Ex-cop says Duterte paid him and others to kill suspects

    World News CTV News
    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, berates erring policemen during an audience at the Presidential Palace grounds in Manila, Philippines, on Feb. 7, 2017. (Robinson Ninal / Presidential Photographers Division, Malacanang Palace) Source
  • Video footage shows attack in airport on Kim Jong Nam

    World News CTV News
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Security camera footage obtained by Japanese television appears to show a careful and deliberate attack last week on the exiled half brother of North Korea's ruler. The footage, obtained by Fuji TV and often grainy and blurred, seems to show two women approaching Kim Jong Nam from different directions as he stands at a ticketing kiosk at the budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur airport. Source
  • Trump's 'streamlined' travel ban targets same countries

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — A draft of President Donald Trump’s revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order and exempts travellers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S., even if they haven’t used it yet. Source
  • B.C. woman calls for change to Air Canada's dog policy

    Canada News CTV News
    A B.C. woman is speaking out against Air Canada's policy on transporting certain types of dogs, after her pit bull-cross got stuck in Calgary after a medical procedure. Robyn Larocque, who lives in Highlands, near Victoria, B.C. Source
  • On frozen fields, North Korean farmers prep for battle ahead

    World News CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- Plug your noses and ready your "Juche fertilizer." It's time to prep the frozen fields in North Korea. North Korea relies on its farmers to squeeze absolutely all they can out of every harvest. Source