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News: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Abbotsford parents supported to help kids fight the lure of gangs

A two-hour education session is being offered in Abbotsford as part of a new school-based gang prevention program to provide parents with practical knowledge on how to help prevent their children from getting involved in youth gangs.

“We want to ensure parents have access to the supports they need to keep their children out of gang life,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “This session is focused on raising awareness of local risks and giving parents the tools they need to set their kids on a positive path toward success.”

The parent education session is scheduled for Thursday, May 30 at 6:30 p.m., at Abbotsford Senior Secondary, 33355 Bevan Ave. No registration is required.

Parents will leave with a greater understanding of what they can do to prevent their child from getting involved in gang activity. Topics will include an overview of the current B.C. gang landscape, information on how gang members recruit and what attracts children and youth to the gang lifestyle.

Presenters will discuss what gang membership entails and dispel some of the myths with realities. They will offer warning signs and steps parents can take if they think their child is involved in gang activity.

“Ending the gun and gang violence that’s taking young lives and threatening communities throughout B.C. will continue to require strong, strategic prevention and enforcement efforts,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Early intervention and prevention programs like ERASE are vital to ensuring our young people are both knowledgeable and resilient to the lure of gangs and gang violence, helping them make their own positive life choices. Our government will continue to pull out all the stops to identify bold, new actions that can support local police, our justice system, our schools and communities in curbing gang and gun violence, and saving young lives.”

Quotes:

Theresa Campbell, president, Safer Schools Together –

“Education is a powerful tool that can help parents be able to identify early warning signs that their children are getting on the pathway to gang activity. These sessions will provide parents with practical and beneficial training that will support them to know what to do if faced with this circumstance that’s unfortunately affecting too many youth and their families in B.C. today.”

Stan Petersen, board chair, Abbotsford School District –

“We are pleased to be selected as one of the districts to host this information parent session and to be able to support the work of ERASE and Safer Schools Together. We believe in providing our students with all the resources, supports and strategies to make smart, healthy decisions so they can succeed and contribute their full potential to the future. We appreciate the dedicated work and expertise of Safer Schools Together and ERASE as partners in educating our students and families about the risks of gang involvement."

Quick Facts:

  • The new ERASE school-based gang prevention program is funded through $1.12 million announced in July 2018.
  • In March 2019, Abbotsford became one of 12 priority communities identified by police and safety experts as those that could benefit from additional gang prevention support. The other communities are Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Williams Lake.
  • The provincial ERASE strategy offers services and resources to foster school connectedness, address bullying and prevent violence in B.C. schools, as well as providing support to school districts during critical incidents.
  • During the 2018-19 school year, ERASE was expanded to be a more comprehensive resource and focus on gang prevention, mental health and wellness, substance use, social media and sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The Abbotsford session will be provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for ERASE.

Learn More:

  • Abbotsford School District Parent Gang Information Session: https://www.abbyschools.ca/announcement/grip-presents-keeping-our-children-safe-gangs
  • B.C. government news release, March 12, 2019, Helping B.C. students fight lure of gangs with new ERASE strategy: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019EDUC0021-000362
  • ERASE – expect respect and a safe education: www.erase.gov.bc.ca

Source: Ministry of Education


Media Contact:

Kayla Stuckart, Manager of Communications
Phone: (604) 859 – 4891 ext. 1206
Email: kayla.stuckart@abbyschools.ca