The shocking loss of a party of students and teachers, along with other passengers on a flight from Spain to Germany, hits hard in Britain as it does in the home countries of the families and friends of those who died.
Is there anything at all positive to be learned from a plane crash that’s as puzzling as it’s tragic?
Perhaps we can remind ourselves that we now feel a real sense of kinship with citizens of European countries that we have, in previous centuries, reviled and fought against in wars. Perhaps we’ve become a real family of European nations, unconsciously caring about our fellow citizens across the whole of this complex and colourful continent.
Perhaps we can be more aware of the incredible work that schools and teachers do to promote international friendship, empathy and understanding.
Perhaps we can hope for a future that’s much freer of bigotry, enmity, prejudice, stereotyping and misconception as a result of the relationships that are fostered by these international exchange visits.
Perhaps we can appreciate more and more of our people, every new generation, being better educated in the fullest sense of the word – personally, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
Perhaps we can feel gratitude to every school and every teacher that makes strenuous efforts to provide exchange visits that enrich every student who’s able to participate.
Air travel can never be completely safe. Neither can travel by coach or train. In spite of the potential hazards and dangers of long distance travel we can be sure that teachers and parents will continue to support these endeavours – and we will all be direct or indirect beneficiaries.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those whose lives have been directly affected by this tragic event.