Surrey RCMP and the school district put on an informative forum on youth and gangs Monday, but, after eliminating police and media, only several dozen people showed up.
And, as L.A. Matheson Secondary principal Paulo Sarmento pointed out, those who showed up “are like the parents who come out to parent-teacher night – which are the parents of the straight A student.” The parents who are disengaged from their children are the ones who need to pay heed. And we can take Sarmento’s word for it – they aren’t going to be the ones showing up.
Kudos to organizers for a good line-up of speakers, shedding light on why youth are targeted to help these dial-a-dope schemes, and how we can all help prevent that.
Still, what good is all that information if the people who need to hear it don’t show up?
The same scenario played out when we covered an emotional and powerful anti-gang presentation at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary school a few months ago – it was a sparse crowd comprised of parents who already clearly care what their kids are up to.
With two more Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit teams on the way thanks to more provincial funding, the anti-gang message will be spread even further.
But we can’t help but feel that these forums are preaching to the choir. Perhaps we need to consider bringing this message into Surrey’s temples, mosques and churches.
It couldn’t hurt.