Packed schools, crime discussed at Surrey refugee forum
Thursday, January 21, 2016

Syrian families are already starting to settle into BC but people in the lower mainland are still trying to figuring how to help. About 300 people attended a community forum in Surrey Wednesday night that brought together several facets of government and other services in order to give people who want to help an Idea of what is needed.

Newcomers helping newcomers was a common theme in the school gym where the forum was held. The presentation started with the emcee asking anyone who wasn’t born in Canada to stand up. The majority of the room rose.

Support for schools welcoming refugee students

Several of questions from the audience centered on what kinds of supports are in place to help the incoming youth population. Applause erupted when one question was read that asked if the province would be funding expansion or adjustments needed in already crowded Surrey schools.

Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, says Surrey was one of the hottest school districts when it comes to growth, even before the refugees arrived.

“That’s why the province and the Minister of Education are working so closely with the Surrey School District, to lay out the long-term plan, not just for the refugees, but the normal growth that we’ve been experiencing.”

The overcrowding problem in Surrey is on the opposite end of the spectrum for the Vancouver School Board that is right now trying to figure out how to get enrollment up to 95 per cent capacity in order to justify seismic upgrades. Fassbender was asked if he thinks new refugee students could help boost those numbers.

“Any time you have a growth in students, wherever they come from, it helps to deal with the issue of declining enrollment.”

Surrey RCMP Chief dispels refugee myths

Speaking at the forum, Surrey’s RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy made an effort to dispel some myths and misconceptions about refugees.

He says newcomers are not a threat to national security. “From a law enforcement perspective, our assessment is that they’re low risk,” Fordy said.

“The majority of refugees, or newcomers, or new Canadians who are coming to Canada are children, elderly or women and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to do everything we can to dispel those myths.”

 

Read full article here.

Source: News 1130