Local MLA Dean encourages Victoria parents to attend upcoming session
VICTORIA – New Democrat MLA Mitzi Dean is encouraging parents in the Greater Victoria area to attend an upcoming 90-minute training session as part of a new provincial school-based gang prevention program.
“We want to ensure local parents have access to education as well as practical skills that can help them keep their children safe,” said the MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “Hearing about youth gang activity in B.C. is increasingly alarming, which is why we’re committed to ensuring parents have the tools to protect their families.”
Dean, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, said Victoria 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.
The upcoming parent education session in Victoria will be offered Tuesday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt 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 also 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.
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.”
Jordan Watters, board chair, Greater Victoria School District
“We appreciate the training opportunities and resources offered through the provincial ERASE program dedicated to keeping British Columbian students safe. These sessions are designed for parents who are concerned about the well-being of their children, or who simply want to learn more about youth gang activity in our province.”
- 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 Victoria 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, Delta, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver 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 Victoria session is being provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for ERASE.
For more information on the upcoming ERASE school-based gang prevention program education session for parents, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.