SD 54 to draft policy on international travel

Bulkley Valley school board to look at each trip request on a case by case basis.

The Bulkley Valley school board is taking measures to ensure students’ safety when travelling abroad. Committee members decided at last week’s policy meeting to not have a total ban on school trips outside of the country but to look at each request for a trip case by case.

“That is the struggle with this. The last thing you want is to live in fear or not do things because you are afraid,” said Superintendent Chris van der Mark. “But there is a difference in parents taking their own children and the district sanctioning a trip.”

The board has also decided to create a policy on international travel because they currently do not have one.

“It is hard decision to say no. [However] I would hate to be in the position to have to explain to a family after a tragedy has happened …. we wouldn’t think there would be one. And to be fair, that is how things have gone. After 9/11, most school districts in B.C. and Canada eliminated international travel for a time and then of course you get into the new normal and the comfort but it comes back to do people think it is safe? I’m still going to travel but not I’m going to take your child.”

Trustee Dawn Hanson also mentioned it is difficult to be flexible when traveling in a big group and change plans in the event something bad happens.

Trustees and staff struggled during the meeting to figure out where to draw the line and which countries to deem safe.

“The risk is out there but is that risk worth the supplemental education?” questioned Secretary Treasurer Dave Margerm.

Margerm was tasked with putting together a draft international travel policy and bring it back to the board in the new year for review.

“It isn’t about denying or approving,” added van der Mark. “It is about not assuming liability. It is inaccurate to say we are forbidding or banning. That is inaccurate. We are not assuming the responsibility associated with that activity. That is a different message.”

After choosing not to endorse a trip by Houston Secondary to Europe at the board’s Oct. 24 meeting, board Chair Les Kearns stressed the main reason for the decision was safety.

“I know right now I feel that it is the responsibility to keep our students as safe as possible, and that I don’t think that the board wants to take the responsibility of sending kids to an area where tourists are targeted by crazy people,” said Kearns immediately after the meeting last month.

Just Posted

Houston senior brings home gold medal

Golfer Andy Grobins wins gold at the 55+ BC Games

Six cattle killed on Hungry Hill

After a brief closure Friday the highway is now open to traffic.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Smithers couple wins $1 million

Smithers resident Brenda Graf went to Safeway to pick up some groceries… Continue reading

Houston aims to improve emergency response

The district only has two emergency support services personnel

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read