Delta parents supported to help kids fight the lure of gangs

Ravi Kahlon

NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon is encouraging parents in Delta to attend one of two upcoming 90-minute training sessions as part of a new provincial 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,” said the MLA for Delta North. “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.”

Kahlon said Delta is one of 12 B.C. communities receiving training opportunities and a variety of intensive supports targeting students, parents, educators, law enforcement, and local partners through the $1.12 million B.C. Government program, launched March 12 as part of the Ministry of Education’s ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) strategy.

Upcoming parent education sessions in Delta will be offered:

* May 8 at North Delta Secondary, and

* May 23 at Seaquam Secondary.

Both sessions will get underway at 6:30 p.m. 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
  • 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.

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. 

Theresa Campbell, President, Safer Schools Together, said: “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.”

Laura Dixon, Board Chairperson, Delta School District, said: “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. 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.”

Quick Facts

  • The new ERASE school-based gang prevention program is funded through $1.12 million announced in July 2018 by Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
  • Minister of Education Rob Fleming announced in March 2019 that Delta is one of 12 priority communities identified by police and safety experts as those that could benefit from additional gang prevention support. Other communities include Abbotsford, Burnaby, 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, and provides support to school districts during critical incidents.
  • During the 2018-19 school year, ERASE was expanded to be a more comprehensive resource, and will also focus on gang prevention, mental health and wellness, substance use, social media, and sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The Delta sessions are being provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for ERASE.