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Kamloops, Kelowna parents supported to help keep kids safer

Parents in Kelowna and Kamloops are encouraged to attend upcoming education sessions in their communities as part of B.C.’s school-based gang prevention initiative.

“These sessions are focused on raising awareness of local risks and giving parents the tools and supports they need to keep their children out of gang life,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Training opportunities like these can help parents ensure their kids get the support they need earlier, so they can continue to work together toward positive futures.”

The upcoming parent education session in Kamloops will be offered Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Henry Grube Education Centre, located at 245 Kitchener Cres., Kamloops. No registration is required. Sessions run approximately 90 minutes.

The upcoming parent education session in Kelowna will be offered April 2, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hollywood Road Education Centre, Room 1. The centre is located at 1040 Hollywood Rd. South, Kelowna. No registration is required.

“Prevention and intervention involves everyone, and parents can play an important role in keeping young people out of gangs,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Sessions like this can dispel myths and help parents recognize the signs of at-risk behaviours, so they can help keep their kids on a positive path.”

The gang prevention program provides education and training opportunities for students, parents, educators, law enforcement officials and representatives of community-based organizations. The Province is investing $4.93 million over the next three years to provide gang prevention and awareness training programs in 16 communities throughout British Columbia. This builds on an initial $1.12-million investment that has had more than 8,000 students, parents, educators and community partners participate in 110 training and education sessions.

Parents will leave these sessions 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 using social media; 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 is involved in gang activity.

Quotes:

Alison Sidow, superintendent, Kamloops-Thompson School District –

“In partnership with parents, our district plays a critical role in educating young people about healthy choices. The world is complex and we all have a responsibility to ensure our youth are equipped with the information they need to critically think about how their decisions affect their futures.”

Kevin Kaardal, superintendent and CEO, Central Okanagan School District –

“We are grateful for the Ministry of Education’s continued support with the important work of gang prevention in our community. Our top priority is student safety and educating families is a key part of ensuring students have all of our support to make good decisions. We hope parents will take advantage of the information sessions again this year.”

Quick Facts:

  • Kelowna and Kamloops are two of the 16 priority communities identified by police and safety experts as those that could benefit from additional gang prevention support.
  • Other communities include: Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Hope, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria 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. It now includes a focus on gang prevention, mental health and wellness, substance use, online safety, and sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • These sessions are being provided by Safer Schools Together, the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for Erase.

Learn More:

For a news release on Erase, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019EDUC0127-002347

For more on Erase, visit: www.erase.gov.bc.ca

For more on School District 73, visit: https://www.sd73.bc.ca/en/index.aspx

For more on School District 23, visit: http://www.sd23.bc.ca/Pages/default.aspx#/=


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