Press Release / Community

EMSB mourns the loss of life in terrorist attack in Israel

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Montreal - Thursday, October 12, 2023

Following the terrorist attacks which occurred in Israel during the weekend of October 7th, the English Montreal School Board wishes to extend heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones.   

“What we saw happening in Israel was horrifying and shocking,” stated EMSB Chair Joe Ortona. “On behalf of the EMSB Council of Commissioners, I pray for all the victims and we can only hope that any hostages are found soon and return home safely. Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime and is never justified”.

The EMSB has lowered flags at all of its buildings to half-mast.

"We know these attacks can trigger a range of emotions, anxiety and, especially for younger students, lots of questions and confusion. Some students and staff may need extra support in the days and weeks ahead as they witness terrible images of war and atrocities in the media," added Mr. Ortona. "The Board’s Student Services Department has provided documentation to each school containing strategies and resources that can be used to discuss this tragedy in classrooms where appropriate and necessary.

“Just last week we adopted a resolution calling on the Quebec government to make Holocaust education a mandatory part of the curriculum. And now, more than ever, we are seeing the importance of such a policy. Israeli civilians, as well as soldiers have been abducted by Hamas terrorists and taken hostage. The abduction of civilians and hostage-taking are prohibited by international law and constitutes war crimes. 

“The EMSB has students and staff of all faiths and a zero tolerance for any acts of hatred and racism. We always ensure that our schools are inclusive spaces where everyone, whatever their race, whatever their religion, is welcome and feels safe”. 

For the past number of years EMSB schools have been visiting the Montreal Holocaust Museum to learn more about genocide. These activities will continue next Tuesday, October 17, when a group from John F. Kennedy High School spends the morning there.

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at

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