Brussels Schools Reopen With Security 11/25 06:23
After a four-day shutdown prompted by a threat alert across Brussels,
schools are reopening their doors with the help of beefed up security,
including police armed with machine guns.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- After a four-day shutdown prompted by a threat alert across
Brussels, schools are reopening their doors with the help of beefed up
security, including police armed with machine guns.
Though the Belgian capital continues to be under the highest-level threat
alert, meaning that an attack is serious and imminent, schools and subways
began reopening across the city on Wednesday. That is restoring a sense of
normality to the city, parts of which have been deserted since the alert was
first raised to the top level in the capital on Saturday.
The threat level is expected to be in place until at least Monday unless
there are significant developments, like the capturing of suspects linked to
the Paris attacks on Nov. 13.
At Brussels' College Saint-Jean-Berchmans, some parents gave their children
a quick kiss before dropping them off, while several police officers guarded
the entrance, including one with a visible machine gun. Among the students at
the school is Belgium's Princess Eleonore.
"I'm concerned, but I think that life must go on," said Dimitri De Cra
Yencour, a father of four. "Even if something happens in Paris or in Brussels,
they have to go back to school," he said, adding he had instructed his children
be extra attentive and to tell their teachers if they saw anything unusual.
At other schools in the region, officials sent parents letters and emails
explaining security measures being taken under police orders, like limiting
access to the school and not allowing children to play or gather in large
spaces like courtyards.
Some children looked visibly worried as they arrived at the upscale Brussels
school but most gave a friendly handshake to a burly school official guarding
the entrance alongside the police officers.
Father Didier Nkoy Balengola said he had explained to his children that
"there are some bad men who for no reason want to hurt innocent people" but he
had confidence in the police.
Others said that after the terror-sparked school vacation this week, it was
definitely time for classes to re-start.
"It was like Christmas come early for the children," said Annalaure Leger, a
mother of two. "They stayed at home and played with the neighbors' kids." Leger
said their family lives partly in Paris and that the children are very aware of
what's happening both there and in Belgium. She said that Wednesday's school
drop-off wasn't much different from any other day, except for the presence of
camera crews snapping their arrival.
Leger said that neither she nor her children were too concerned about an
"It would be better if the police had caught the terrorists, but the
children know they are trying to do that so that everyone is safe."