Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth speaks at a funding announcement Tuesday morning in Abbotsford. He is joined by (from left) Abbotsford board of education chair Stan Petersen, superintendent Kevin Godden, Walter Mustapich of the Boys Club Network and Education Minister Rob Fleming. (Vikki Hopes/Black Press)

12 B.C. school districts get total of $1.12 million in gang-prevention funds

Money in partnership with Boys Club Network for after-school programs and more

  • Mar. 12, 2019 1:47 p.m.

The provincial government announced on Tuesday 12 school districts will receive a total of $1.12 million for gang-prevention programming in partnership with the Boys Club Network.

The announcement was made at W. J. Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford by Education Minister Rob Fleming and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

Farnworth previously announced the funding allocation in July 2018 but the specifics of how the money will be spent were detailed at Tuesday’s announcement.

RELATED: Surrey mayor says ‘party is over’ with gang task force report

The 12 participating communities are: Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Williams Lake.

The funding supports the new ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) school-based gang prevention program.

The communities selected to participate were identified by police and safety experts as those that could benefit from additional gang-prevention support.

Fleming said the funds will help support young people to stay out of gangs.

“We’re ensuring all B.C. students receive an education free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation and, most importantly, violence, for generations to come,” he said.

Through the partnership with the Boys Club Network – an organization that works to create safe spaces for boys aged 12 to 19 – after-school programs will be set up where they don’t already exist.

As well, new high school elective courses will be created that connect teen boys with positive adult role models and provide leadership and career development opportunities.

The funds will be administered by the B.C. School Superintendents Association (BCSSA).

RELATED: PREVENTING GANGSTERS: ‘The signs were there, where was I?’ says B.C. mom

RELATED: Rally cry in Abbotsford against gang killings

Approximately 2,200 students, 1,500 parents and 2,500 educators, law enforcement officials and those form community groups will have an opportunity to participate in gang-prevention and awareness education and training sessions.

The sessions will be provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s partner for ERASE.

Topics will include an overview of the current B.C. gang landscape, how gang members are recruiting, myths and realities of gang membership, warning signs and how to help if someone is being recruited or is already involved in gang-related activity.

Safer Schools Together will also develop a new provincial learning resource for B.C. education professionals focused on gang prevention.

This will include videos and a teacher guide focused on helping all students develop healthy relationships, avoid unsafe or exploitive situations, and how to protect themselves from harm.

Localized monthly reports on public social media activity regarding gang activity will also be provided to school districts, along with support on how best to address any concerning online behaviour.

Farnworth said early-intervention and prevention programs like ERASE are vital to keeping young people out of gangs.

“Ending the gun and gang violence that’s taking young lives and threatening our communities will continue to require strong, strategic prevention and enforcement efforts,” he said.

Walter Mustapich, president and co-founder of the Boys Club Network, said young people benefit greatly from mentorship programs and other supports.

“If boys do not understand and value themselves and their human potential, and make enduring connections with positive adult male mentors and role models within their primary spheres of influence — family, school, extracurricular — they will seek connection elsewhere. Elsewhere can be dangerous, damaging, devastating,” he said.

Just Posted

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge construction could start in 2021, MLA says

The project is expected to cost substantially more than budgeted in 2017

Fraser Valley developer offering to build barn owl nesting boxes for free

Gore Brothers says anyone with a suitable building can help the threatened raptor

EDITORIAL: Post-grad years are your time

Editor Grace Kennedy shares a few words for this year’s high school grads

Dinosaurs will reign at Sto:lo Children’s Festival

Jurassic Park theme takes over long-standing, free community event

COLUMN: Llamas, goats and snakes, oh my!

Making friends on the Ryder Lake Ramble not a walk in the park

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Most Read