Districts divided on school trips after Paris attack


Valerie Yurk

In this coming summer of 2016, the Elmbrook high school French departments will continue with their biennial trip to France.

Valerie Yurk, Reporter

Ever since the horrendous terrorist attack in Paris on Nov 13, school districts across the nation have been rethinking and cancelling trips abroad for this school year. The fear and uncertainty of sending students abroad have affected local communities as well; Milwaukee Public Schools decided to cancel all of the district’s foreign travel to destinations around the world, including trips just across the border to Canada. MPS made their decision in response to the U.S. State Department’s travel alert which cautioned travelers to avoid large crowds. Since foreign travel often encourages crowds of tourists to form at certain attractions, MPS concluded that cancelling the student trips was necessary to ensure safety.

The decision in MPS created a ripple effect in the area, as some surrounding districts followed suit and reconsidered school-based foreign travel. However, the French Department at Brookfield Central High School continues to plan their 2016 trip to France despite the question of safety.

“MPS has a district sponsored program, while we use a travel company,” said Madame Mary Mann.

This means that BCHS trips, contrary to those of MPS, do not have to be approved and sponsored by the district. For schools in the Elmbrook School District, the trip relies on the travel company; if the company adjusts the trip’s agenda, then the school’s plans will follow. Thus far, the French trip’s schedule remains as initially planned.

“When my parents heard about the attack they were a little nervous, but they knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Lena Jensen (‘17), a 2016 French trip attendee, “Something like that could happen anywhere, so it wouldn’t deter me from going.”

Despite the uncertainty of international travel, the BCHS students trekking to France are still eager for the experiences, opportunities, and good food that are planned for them this upcoming summer.