An education session will be held at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School Thursday for parents on preventing youths from getting involved in gang activity. Abbotsford News file photo

Abbotsford parents invited to anti-gang education session

Presenters to discern myth from reality, offer warning signs that youths are getting into gangs

Abbotsford parents are invited to attend an upcoming anti-gang education session put on by the B.C. government.

The two-hour session is being offered at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School (33355 Bevan Avenue) on Thursday at 6:30 a.m. No registration is required to attend the event, which is intended to provide parents with “practical knowledge on how to help prevent their children from getting involved in gangs,” according to a government news release.

“We want to ensure parents have access to the supports they need to keep their children out of gang life,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming in a statement. “This session is focused on raising awareness of local risks and giving parents the tools they need to set their kids on a positive path toward success.”

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Topics of the session will include an overview of the current B.C. gang landscape, information on how gang members recruit and what attracts youths to the gang lifestyle.

Parents will hear about what gang membership entails from presenters, who will also discern myths from reality and educate parents on warning signs and steps that can be taken if parents believe their child is involved in gangs.

“Ending the gun and gang violence that’s taking young lives and threatening communities throughout B.C. will continue to require strong, strategic prevention and enforcement efforts “Early intervention and prevention programs like ERASE are vital to ensuring our young people are both knowledgeable and resilient to the lure of gangs and gang violence, helping them make their own positive life choices.”

Abbotsford school board Chair Stan Petersen praised the work of ERASE and Safer Schools Together in a statement.

“We believe in providing our students with all the resources, supports and strategies to make smart, healthy decisions so they can succeed and contribute their full potential to the future,” Petersen said. “We appreciate the dedicated work and expertise of Safer Schools Together and ERASE as partners in educating our students and families about the risks of gang involvement.”

In March this year, Abbotsford was identified among 12 priority communities for gang prevention support, alongside Burnaby, Langley, Surrey and Vancouver, as well as several others outside the Lower Mainland.

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