News / Calgary

Calgary schools mull skipping Paris on class trips to Europe in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack

Students bound for overseas school trips later this year may steer clear of Paris in the wake of a mass shooting last month, parents have been told.

Laura Shutiak attended a meeting last week at Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School where the school principal warned the itinerary for her daughter's trip could be altered amid concern for student safety.

Shutiak's daughter is due to tour Second World War sites in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France in mid-May before heading back home from the airport in Paris. But Scarlett's principal indicated the kids may fly from a different airport or, if they do end up in the French capital, they may not be permitted to sightsee.

Shutiak said the indication from the principal was that as many as eight other schools were grappling with similar issues.

She said, personally, she doesn't have any concerns.

"I am glad there is due diligence taking place — they have to be careful," she said. "However, I would not hesitate to get on a plane to go Paris and I would be disappointed if I spent close to $3,000 on a trip and my child was in France but didn’t see Paris."

On Jan. 7, two gunmen stormed the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in an attack that killed 12. The incident sparked panic in the French capital and a total of 20 people, including the gunmen, were killed over three days.

Shutiak said there was even some speculation the trips could be cancelled outright, but said the indication was a formal decision was to be made by Calgary Board of Education Chief Supt. David Stevenson.

The CBE would not make anyone available for an interview on the topic and, in an emailed statement, did not address specific questions about how many school trips could be impacted.

"The CBE monitors and reviews all trips on an ongoing basis, working with school staffs, parents, students and service providers,” the statement reads. “Recent international events have underlined the importance of this process . . . the CBE will keep parents informed about these matters and communication about some trips will occur (this) week. These discussions and communications will continue as required until the trips depart."

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