Terrorist attacks impact class discussions, potential trip


John McClatchy

Recent attacks in Paris and the spread of ISIS could threaten a scheduled Malvern trip to France.

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, terror and talk of terror has flooded the media and dominated conversations across America.

Malvern is no exception. In classrooms and the hallways, “ISIS” can be heard dozens of times in a single day.

Global Perspectives teacher Mr. Andrew Burke has said that Middle Eastern history will be part of his curriculum for his freshman students.

“Right now, they aren’t quite informed about it, and there are a lot of kneejerk reactions,” Burke said. “But, by the time this unit is done, I hope their eyes will be opened, and they can see why ISIS is happening.”

Burke said his unit on Middle Eastern history will go from the end of the First World War and the fall of the Ottoman Empire all the way to the modern day.

US Congressman Ryan Costello, who represents the 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, which includes Tredyffrin, Malvern, and West Chester, held a phone town hall in November, where he fielded questions about ISIS and Syrian refugees.

“[Syrian] refugees are victims,” he said in the town hall. “But until we’re sure no refugees are dangerous, we can’t provide aid to them by allowing them into the country.”

“People who fight for ISIS are enemies of the state,” he said. “Any American who goes [to Syria] and fights for ISIS should go under US surveillance.”

In a phone interview, Costello said that anyone who goes to fight in Syria, for either ISIS, Syrian opposition, or the Kurds, should be tracked by the U.S. Government.

Malvern isn’t just talking about ISIS though. There are some concerns about a trip to France, and Paris in particular, scheduled for March 2016.

French teacher Ms. Teresa Lohse, who is leading the trip, has done what she could to adjust the trip. “I’ve talked with Mr. Talbot and Mr. Algeo, and we’ve decided to wait until the State Department gives an advisory to change the trip drastically.”

After the Paris attacks, the State Department gave a general travel warning to Americans traveling abroad, and will last until Feb. 24. Malvern’s trip to Paris is scheduled from March 25 to April 2.

While Lohse won’t say there’s nothing to worry about, she said Malvern won’t do anything in haste.

“The company we’re doing this with, EF Tours, is really understanding with this,” she said. “We can change anything about the trip up to the last minute, so we’re going to take as much time as we can.”

“The first thing any American should do when they travel abroad is check with the American embassy,” Costello said. “They have the most up-to-date information about potential threats in the country, and whether you should be careful.”