B.C. will invest $4.93 million into the gang prevention program

Fight against guns and gangs

The province has announced an investment of millions of dollars into improving and expanding the gang prevention program, to ensure more students are safe in B.C. schools.

ERASE, or Expect Respect and A Safe Education, is a prevention program focused on gang and gun violence within schools.

The province plans to invest $4.93 million over the next three years to ensure support for students, parents, educators, law enforcement and community members in Campbell River, Chiliwack, Courtenay and Hope.

This is in addition to the $1.12 million that was announced for the program in March 2019, which will go towards programs in Kelowna, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver and Williams Lake.

"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.

"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."

The new funding will offer student and parent sessions focused on gun and gang violence prevention, tailored to each community.

Currently, more than 8,000 students, parents and other community members have participated in 110 training sessions in 12 communities. 

The 16 priority school districts will all receive grants towards local programming for after-school clubs and other support programs for at-risk youth. With the new funding also comes monthly reports to all 60 B.C. school districts in regards to gang activity on social media.

"Our government is committed to supporting youth in B.C. who might be struggling with finding a constructive pathway forward," said Mike Farnworth, solicitor general and minister of public safety. "Prevention and intervention at the community level are important parts of combating gun and gang violence."

A new resource, which is currently being developed by Safer Schools Together, will be available in 2020, providing informative videos and teaching guides to help guide students to healthier relationships, avoid harmful situations and protect themselves.

To learn more about the governments efforts with gun and gang prevention, click here.

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