AS gang-related crime continues to increase in Metro Vancouver, Surrey BC Liberal MLAs on Tuesday called on the NDP to immediately reverse funding cuts to Safer Schools Together to help prevent young people from entering gang life.
“Too often, we hear about the devastating effects of gang life on B.C. youth and their families. Safer Schools Together has a proven track record of not only identifying youth-at-risk, but also educating parents, teachers and community stakeholders on violence prevention and anti-bullying strategies,” said Trevor Halford, MLA for Surrey-White Rock. “These targeted programs are vital in communities like Surrey where gang violence is on the rise. It’s shocking the NDP would move forward with a funding cut at a time like this.”
Safer Schools Together received only $500,000 of the $1.13 million committed by the Public Safety and Education ministries for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and another $1 million expected for the next fiscal year is in jeopardy.
“In the first three weeks of 2021 alone, there have been five gang-related murders in Metro-Vancouver, including the murder of a 14-year-old boy. This escalation is worrying for our community and demands action,” said Stephanie Cadieux, MLA for Surrey South. “We must do everything we can to connect with young people before it’s too late. Surrey NDP MLAs need to ensure funding is restored to Safer Schools Together, to help youth develop positive social skills and to create safer communities.”