School raises awareness of child abuse

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2019

LANETT — The sky was filled with blue balloons Tuesday afternoon at Bowen East Head Start Program in Lanett.

Teachers and students released hundreds of balloons to signify the end of Child Abuse Awareness Month in Alabama.

The program has engaged in activities all month to teach the young children what abuse is.

Sheree Core, the program’s director, said the balloon release is an annual activity.

“We encourage the children to make sure nobody is abusing them,” she said. “We are sure to explain that abusing means harming them or beating on them.”

Core said the color blue is associated with Child Abuse Awareness Month, so the students make blue punch, make blue cookies and make blue handprints on paper. She said those activities are an attempt to associate the color blue with child abuse.

“We are teaching them that not all behavior shown by adults or teenagers is good behavior,” Core said. “We want them to learn from an early age that they need to be aware of the different types of touching, hitting or verbal communication that are not acceptable.”

According to the Alabama Network of Child Advocacy Centers, a child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds in the United States.

Additionally, more than 3 million children are subjects of at least one child abuse case each year and 90 percent of the persons committing the abuse are people the child knows.

The center said long-term effects of child abuse include health and behavioral program, drug and alcohol program, teenage pregnancy and crime.