Amanjot Singh Hans, 31, of Surrey as the victim of the May 15 shooting at a Langley gas station. Police said the attack was targeted. (Shane MacKichan photo)

Anti-gang forum aimed at helping Langley parents keep teens safe

Preventing gang recruitment is the focus of a forum to be held next week

What lures teens into gang life in B.C.?

Parents in Langley are to be offered some practical knowledge at a two-hour parent education session to be held next week at R.E. Mountain Secondary, part of a new school-based gang prevention program being created in B.C.

“This session will provide critical information to parents to help support their children to make the right decisions and fight the temptation to join gangs,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s minister of education “By working together with parents and our dedicated education and community partners, we want to ensure students stay in school and away from violence.”

Topics of the forum, to be run by Safer Schools Together, will include an overview of the current B.C. gang landscape, information on how gang members recruit, what gang membership entails, warning signs for parents of teen gang involvement, and what attracts youths to the gang lifestyle,

Presenters will discuss what gang membership entails and dispel some of the myths about gangs in B.C. They will offer warning signs and steps parents can take if they think their child is involved in gang activity.

The meeting is one of the programs offered through Expected Respect And a Safe Education (ERASE), a new program that received $1.12 million in provincial government funding last summer.

“The Langley School District is pleased to partner with the province on this initiative and believes this will help keep our students, staff and community safe,” said Megan Dykeman, chair of the Langley School Board. “We support the work of ERASE and Safer Schools Together and feel this info session will provide families with the education needed to help mitigate and prevent gang involvement.”

“Ending the gun and gang violence that’s taking young lives and threatening communities across B.C. will continue to require strong, strategic prevention and enforcement efforts,” said Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s solicitor general and minister of public safety. “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.

In March, the province announced that Langley was one of 12 priority communities identified by police and safety experts as in need of more gang prevention support.

The other communities included Abbotsford, Surrey, Burnaby, as well as cities ranging in size from Vancouver to Williams Lake.

Langley has seen a number of targeted shootings and murders in recent years, including the death of Amanjot Singh Hans, who died in a hail of bullets at a gas station at 232nd Street near the Trans Canada Highway, and Tarek Ali al-Romeshi, a 23-year-old who was killed in a Willoughby townhouse complex.

The forum is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at 7 p.m., at R.E. Mountain Secondary, 7755 202A St. No registration is required. For more information on the anti-gang event, visit the Langley School District’s website.

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