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

  • Social media good for democracy? Facebook admits it can't make that guarantee

    World News CBC News
    Facebook has warned that it can't offer any assurance that social media is on balance good for democracy, but the company says it is trying to do what it can to stop alleged meddling in elections by Russia or anyone else. Source
  • 'Progress by inches': U.S. Senate votes at noon on government funding bill

    World News CBC News
    The government shutdown is set to sow more disruption and political peril Monday after the Senate inched closer but ultimately fell short of an agreement that would have reopened federal agencies before the beginning of the workweek. Source
  • Turkey's president Erdogan says campaign against Kurds in Syria will continue

    World News CBC News
    Turkey's president has said his country will "not take a step back" from its military operation on an enclave in northern Syria controlled by U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters. Speaking in Ankara on Monday on the third day of the operation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's "fundamental goal" is ensuring national security, preserving Syria's territorial integrity and protecting the Syrian people. Source
  • Yemen: The world's 'worst humanitarian crisis' in numbers

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Yemen was already the poorest country in the Arab world before a Saudi-led coalition went to war with Iran-allied rebels in March 2015 in a failed bid to drive them from the capital and much of the country's north. Source
  • Saudi Arabia announces $1.5B in aid for Yemen

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Saudi Arabia on Monday announced $1.5 billion in new aid for Yemen, where nearly three years of conflict have devastated the local economy and pushed millions to the brink of famine, causing what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Source
  • Ovation, protest in Jerusalem as Pence praises Israel's 'vibrant democracy'

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on Monday told Israel's parliament that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, ahead of schedule, receiving a rousing ovation as he pledged to barrel ahead with a plan that has set off weeks of unrest and thrown U.S. Source
  • Iraq sets parliamentary elections for May 12

    World News CBC News
    Iraq's parliament on Monday set May 12 as the date for holding national elections despite calls from the country's Sunni community to delay the vote until the return of nearly three million people displaced by the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Source
  • Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

    World News CBC News
    It will be a busy year for royal weddings: Princess Eugenie is engaged to be married later this year, several months after her cousin Prince Harry's nuptials. Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in the fall, Buckingham Palace said Monday. Source
  • Blizzard strands dozens at B.C. ski resort

    Canada News CTV News
    Dozens of skiers and snowboarders were stranded after more than a metre of snow hit the Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island. An estimated 110 centimetres of snow hit the resort in a 24-hour span that began on Saturday afternoon, forcing many people to seek emergency shelter when they couldn’t get home that night. Source
  • German nurse charged with 97 more murders at hospitals

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A German nurse who is already serving a life sentence for two murders has been charged with killing 97 more patients over several years at two hospitals in northwestern Germany, prosecutors said Monday. Source