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Parent pulls children from Surrey school over crime fears

Surrey district defends schools, says attracting children for quality of education

Students in the Surrey School District participating in Sticks and Stars spring break program. Photo by SFU.
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Reported by Bala Yogesh

A Surrey parent has enrolled her children in a public school in Delta because she was concerned about overcrowding, drug dealers and the presence of gangsters at her neighbourhood school.

Ruchika Walia said she pulled her children from their school because of what she described as a “stressful environment” and wasn’t satisfied they were getting a proper education.

Surrey parent fears gang sightings and grafitti at local schools

“My children are studying in Delta and they’re getting a lot more attention,” said Walia, noting teachers conduct drug prevention talks and police visit the school once a week. “I don’t hear anything about bullying and drugs and those kind of things.”

In Surrey, Walia said, her children reported sightings of gangsters outside school gates and sometimes on school grounds. Graffiti on walls and inappropriate language used by students in schools were other concerns, she added.

Doug Strachan, communications manager for the Surrey school district, said the presence of drug dealers and gangsters is common in all areas of Metro Vancouver.

“You’ll find those sorts of issues in every school district,” Strachan said. “Those issues are universal, not just school districts everywhere, but community. School districts are the reflection of the society that they are in. We don’t have any worse problems than anybody else as far as that’s concerned.”

Strachan defended the reputation of Surrey’s schools saying the services and level of education has attracted parents to enroll their children in the district.

Surrey schools are over capacity, a good sign for school district

“If anything, overcrowding is part of the fact that parents want their children to attend school here,” Strachan said. “We also have parents that moved here because of the services that they can get in Surrey that they can’t get in other school districts.”

Surrey RCMP statistics for 2016 show there were 6,141 violent crimes, including assaults, robberies and sexual offences in the city. The total number of drug-related offences, including cocaine possession and production of marijuana, reached 2,462. Surrey’s crime rate was at its highest in five years in 2015.

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