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

Schools get creative to provide food to students

Initiatives underway include providing gift cards

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read