The Toronto District School Board delivered some big news earlier this week and confirmed the cancelation of all future field trips to the United States. The announcement came via a lengthy press release which was uploaded to the board's official website on Thursday morning. This news follows President Trump's revised Executive Order in which he banned traveling citizens from several Muslim-majority countries. TDSB officials cite this travel ban as their main concern, and wish to prevent students from encountering any potential issues at the nation's border. The motion will come into effect immediately, but 24 pending trips to America are still being given the green light. There is one caveat to these confirmed tours: should any students encounter difficulties at the border, the entire school group will venture back home to Canada.
Toronto's public school board happens to be the largest in the country and oversees around 245,000 students at a total of 584 locations. The board itself frequently plans trips to the United States, with some reports indicating dozens of cross-border trips throughout a single school year. Aside from recreational tours, this new ruling will prevent kids from visiting America for academic forums, band competitions, and sporting events. Members of the TDSB claim that the decision was difficult to make, but it remains in the best interest of the student body. "We do not make this decision lightly," the press release reads, "but given the uncertainty of these new travel restrictions and when they may come into effect, if at all, we strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border." The statement continues to mention that the board is adamant in maintaining integrity for all of those enrolled. "The TDSB remains committed to ensuring that fairness, equity, and inclusion are essential principles of our school system and are integrated into all our policies, programs, operations, and practices, including school trips."
The future of cross-border travel continues to be up in the air, but it seems that the TDSB will not be venturing south until the United States revokes their Muslim travel ban. Toronto's school board will likely stand pat, but says they will continue to have their eyes on the matter at hand. "Rest assured, we will continue to monitor this situation very closely and should we receive additional information or clarification with regards to what students could expect at the U.S. border, we may revisit these decisions. However, based on all the information we currently have available to us, we feel this is the right action to take at this time." In the meantime, you can read more by visiting the school board's website here.