A 90-minute education session is being offered in Kelowna 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.
“This session is intended to give parents powerful tools to keep their children safe,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We’ve heard too many tragic stories about current and former students who’ve suffered violence, injury, incarceration or even death as a result of gang activity in this province, which is why we’re committed to ensuring young people have the supports they need to keep out of the gang life.”
The parent education session is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 at 6 p.m., at the Hollywood Road Education Centre, 1040 Hollywood Rd. 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 are recruiting and what attracts children and youth to the gang lifestyle. Presenters will discuss what gang membership entails and dispel some of the myths and 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.”
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.”
Moyra Baxter, chairperson, board of education, Central Okanagan Public Schools (SD 23) –
“We embrace this opportunity to educate our parents and learners about the perils of involvement in gang activity. Central Okanagan Public Schools is grateful for the support of Safer Schools Together and ERASE in our ongoing efforts to keep our schools and communities safe for students.”
Kevin Kaardal, superintendent of schools/CEO, Central Okanagan Public Schools (SD 23) –
“In Central Okanagan Public Schools, we make sure our youth have a safe place to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens. We are glad to have Safer Schools Together and ERASE as partners in educating our students about the risks of gang involvement to further help them carry the attributes they learn in our schools beyond the classroom and into the community.”
- The new ERASE school-based gang prevention program is funded through $1.12 million announced in July 2018.
- In March 2019, Kelowna 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 Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, 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. ERASE will also focus on gang prevention, mental health and wellness, substance use, social media, and sexual orientation and gender identity.
- The Kelowna session will be provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for ERASE.
Central Okanagan Public Schools Parent Gang Information Sessions:
B.C. government news release, March 12, 2019, Helping B.C. students fight lure of gangs with new ERASE strategy:
ERASE – expect respect and a safe education: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase