Surrey MLA Garry Begg speaks to a crowd at North Surrey Secondary School on Dec. 5 as the provincial government announces more funding for gang prevention programming. (Photo: Twitter@RachnaSinghNDP)

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

The provincial government has announced it is giving a $4.93 million boost to the gang prevention program “Erase” over the next three years.

Erase, which stands for “expect respect and a safe education,” is a school based program that aims to support at-risk students “to get off the path to gang life.”

The program is in its second year of operation and is now expanding from 12 to 16 communities in B.C.

“Too often, we hear about the devastating effects of gang life on B.C. youth and their families, which is why we’re taking targeted action and offering intensive supports in B.C. communities that need help the most,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, who made the announcement in Surrey Thursday along with Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

“By focusing on training and prevention, we are taking important action to support young people earlier and give parents, schools and communities a way to work together toward positive futures,” added Fleming.

In March of this year, the province had announced $1.12 million for the program.

Together, these investments will “provide ongoing support” to the previously named communities (Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Williams Lake) and the program will expand to Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay and Hope.

See also: VIDEO: A ride-along with Surrey’s Gang Enforcement Team

Read also: How gangsters are recruiting Surrey teens on Instagram, Snapchat

See also: VIDEO: A former Surrey gangster’s cautionary tale

Safer Schools Together – the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for the student safety components of Erase – is “continuing to develop a new resource for B.C. educators, connected to the provincial physical and health education curriculum,” a government release notes.

The new resource will be made available in early 2020, the release indicates, and will include informational videos and a teacher’s guide to help students develop healthy relationships, avoid unsafe or exploitive situations and protect themselves from harm.

Surrey school district Superintendent Jordan Tinney said in a release that “hundreds of students in Surrey alone have already benefited from the gang awareness training delivered by experts in the field, and with this expansion, even more B.C. students will have access to life-changing training and educational opportunities.”

Tinney said the program offers “community-focused supports, meaning students in the priority communities will receive programming that is tailor-made to suit their specific needs.”

Minister Farnworth said “prevention and intervention at the community level are important parts of combating gun and gang violence. That’s why we continue to invest in programs like this that support our law enforcement partners, schools and communities in curbing violence and saving young lives.”

A government release says that to date, “more than 8,000 students, parents, educators and community partners have participated in 110 training and education sessions” through Erase.

READ ALSO: Intervention, prevention among goals of anti-gang funds for Surrey: MP

SEE MORE: B.C. gets $5.3 million to work against gangs and guns



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Union Bay water plant now finished

Work allows health authority to lift boil water advisory

‘It’s really frustrating’: B.C. Indigenous groups share impact of border closures

The closures have resulted in disputes between Indigenous groups and local businesses

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read