March 22, 2016 10:01 am
Updated: March 22, 2016 1:04 pm

A number of Winnipeg high schools cancel trips to Europe in wake of Brussels attacks

Smoke billows from the Zaventem Airport after a controlled explosion in Brussels, Tuesday. Bombs struck the Brussels airport and one of the city's metro stations Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens of people, as a European capital was again locked down amid heightened security threats.

AP Photo/Michel Spingler
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WINNIPEG — Students from high schools across the city are no longer heading to Europe after explosions killed at least 31 people in Brussels Tuesday.

The Belgian capital was on lockdown after the attacks at the Brussels airport and one at the city’s metro station. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

The Louis Riel School Division confirmed Tuesday morning that students from Collège Jeanne-Sauvé were supposed to be heading to the Belgium capital Tuesday night, but the trip was cancelled.

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Students from St. James Collegiate and Collège Sturgeon Heights Collegiate were at the Winnipeg airport Tuesday morning, about to board a flight to Berlin, with a connection in Brussels.

The plane was scheduled to take off at 10:40 a.m., when the school division decided to cancel the trips and bring the students back to school.

“We decided the safest thing to do was cancel both trips,” Jennifer Cameron of the St. James-Assiniboia School Division said.

Other high schools around the city were also scheduled to head to Europe Tuesday, with a connection in Brussels, including students from Miles Macdonell Collegiate and Oak Park High School.

“We have a school group from Oak Park High School scheduled to leave for Brussels this afternoon,” Ted Fransen, superintendent of education with the Pembina Trails School Division said.

There are 43 students in the group, who are all in Grades 11 and 12, including five teachers, he said. The trip hasn’t been cancelled yet, but student safety is top of mind.

LISTEN: Ted Fransen superintendent of the Pembina Trails School Division, talks student safety in the wake of the Brussels attacks

“We are monitoring the situation and will make a decision this morning some time on whether the trip will go forward,” Fransen said Tuesday.

Winnipeg schools affected by Brussels attacks

  • Collège Jeanne-Sauvé cancelled trip to Brussels Tuesday;
  • St. James Collegiate cancelled trip to Berlin Tuesday;
  • Collège Sturgeon Heights Collegiate cancelled trip to Berlin Tuesday;
  • Students from Miles Macdonell Collegiate and Oak Park High School are supposed to fly into Brussels Tuesday night, and then bus into France. School division is still reviewing the options;
  • Six groups of students from River East Transcona School Division are already in Europe or headed there over the next few days. Officials told Global News none of the groups is going through Brussels on the way to other destinations in Europe, and trips have not been cancelled.

Video Gallery: Coverage of Brussels attack

READ MORE: 31 reported dead after explosions rock Brussels airport, subway

The explosions, which the Brussels prosecutor’s office called terror attacks, came just days after the main suspect in the November Paris attacks was arrested in Brussels.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying its extremists opened fire in the airport and “several of them” detonated suicide belts.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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