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

Victoria man finds out his song will be featured on American Idol after a rough morning

Mike Edel’s song ‘The Finish Line’ was featured on the hit show

West Shore RCMP, Search and Rescue, Langford Fire continue search for missing Langford man

31-year-old Joshua Bennett of Langford went missing on March 9

Saanich councillor questions why Victoria Mayor Helps would shut out public from amalgamation deliberations

Coun. Judy Brownoff says Saanich puts “high standard” on public engagement, openness and transparency.

Victoria-Saanich amalgamation discussions won’t be open to the public

The upcoming citizens’ assembly meetings will be held in camera

Red-tailed hawk’s own bill is killing him

‘Most birds with this syndrome will starve to death without treatment’

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Most Read