Southwestern Ontario public schools cancel field trips to U.S.
School board officials say safety and well being of students is their top priority
Schools in southwestern Ontario continue to cancel trips to the U.S. citing uncertainty over whether all students would be allowed to cross the border.
The Greater Essex County District School Board has made a board-wide decision to cancel all student trips to the U.S. for the month of February.
Elsewhere, Ursuline College in Chatham is rearranging plans for a music trip for New York City, choosing rather to stay in Ontario.
"If we can remove the opportunity to expose students to potential protests at locations we see value in that," said Scott Johnson, superintendent with St. Clair Catholic District School Board.
"If we can remove any complications with immigration, for any of our students crossing the border, we see value in doing that as well."
School board officials in Windsor, Ont. say President Donald Trump's ban on travellers from seven Muslim nations means the board cannot guarantee all students would be allowed into the U.S.
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"Our priority is the safety and well being of students," said board spokesman Scott Scantlebury. "Having to, for whatever reason, have a student travelling on a field trip be barred from entry or be left behind ... we're not going to proceed if that is the possibility."
Board trustee Jessica Sartori, said many Syrian children who could potentially get banned from crossing the border have started attending schools in the area.
"Windsor-Essex County is one of the luckiest communities in that we're a very diverse community and we take pride in that, so certainly we know that there's the potential for there to be issues for numbers of our students and our teachers," she explained.
The directive from the board is not a permanent policy. Scantlebury told CBC News it will be revisited based on how court proceedings connected with Trump's executive order are resolved in court.
"We will act on our beliefs," said Sartori. "I'm sure there is disappointment that some trips have been cancelled, but I think that this is an important opportunity for students to learn as well and to value inclusivity."