The class was due to have visited the Brussels Opera House today. However, the Head of the school in the town 15km southwest of the capital called off the trip at the last minute.
Headmaster Bart Parrez told VRT Radio that “I don’t think that it is apt to walk with 10-year-old children through a station that is heavily guarded by police officers in bullet-proof vests and then for them to see soldiers carrying heavy weapons on the streets.
Moreover, the Opera House is just a stone’s through away from Brussels’ main police station”.
Minister slams decision to cancel
The decision to cancel the school trips was slammed by the Flemish Minister for Brussels Sven Gatz (liberal). Mr Gatz told VRT radio that “With this kind decision we are surrendering to our collective stupidity. You have more chance of death or injury if you go to Brussels or any other city by car, or just take your car out on the road for that matter, than you do of becoming a victim of a terrorist attack”.
Mr Gatz added that that changing our behaviour we are giving the terrorists what they want.
Education authorities not in favour of postponing trips
Both the Catholic Education Authority VSKO and the authority that governs schools run by the Flemish Language Community GO! have said that they are not advising schools to cancel trips to Brussels. VSKO’s Willy Bombeek told the VRT that schools are free to decide for themselves, but VSKO didn’t want to contribute to the creation of a culture of fear.
A spokesperson for GO! said that school should have a good reason before they cancel a trip.