The Delta School District is holding a pair of education sessions this month to help parents keep their kids away from gangs.
The two 90-minute training sessions — May 8 at North Delta Secondary and May 23 at Seaquam Secondary — aim to provide parents with a greater understanding of what they can do to prevent their child from getting involved in gang activity, and 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 of gang membership, as well as offer warning signs and steps to take if you think your child has gotten involved in gang activity.
Both sessions are free to attend and are scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m. No registration is required.
The training is being provided as part of the province’s ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) school-based gang prevention program.
“I encourage any Delta parent who is concerned that their child may be at risk of succumbing to the lure of gun or gang violence, or who simply wants to learn more, to attend one of these upcoming training sessions,” Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon said in a press release.
“Children from all socio-economic backgrounds can be vulnerable to gang recruitment and involvement. By coming together as a community, and increasing our knowledge and awareness of the risks, we can say no to gang violence and help keep our children safe.”
According to a press release, ERASE offers services and resources to foster school connectedness, address bullying and prevent violence in B.C. schools, as well as provides support to school districts during critical incidents. The program was expanded during the 2018-19 school year to also focus on gang prevention, mental health and wellness, substance use, social media, and sexual orientation and gender identity.
In March, Education Minister Rob Fleming and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced 12 B.C. school districts, including Delta, would be receiving a portion of $1.12-million in anti-gang funding through ERASE.
This month’s training sessions are being provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for ERASE.
“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,” Safer Schools Together president Theresa Campbell said in a press release.
Two additional training sessions are also being held in Delta targeting educators, law enforcement, and local partners on May 21 and May 28. Student sessions will be offered later this year.
“We are pleased to be selected as one of the districts for this initiative, and to be able to support the work of ERASE and Safer Schools Together with these information evenings at our schools,” Delta school board chair Laura Dixon said in a press release.
“As a district, our vision is to give our students 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 about the risks of gang involvement, and in helping to keep our kids safe and on the right track towards their future.”