WOODWARD, Okla. — The transportation department at Woodward Public Schools is observing Child Abuse Awareness Month in April by decorating its buses with blue ribbons.
A blue ribbon is an international symbol for child abuse prevention, and the Woodward Area Coalition, along with the Woodward County office of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, has encouraged members of the community to decorate trees at schools, agencies or businesses this month as a reminder that everyone has a responsibility in helping to protect children.
Woodward Public Schools Transportation Director Rosetta Loomis told Woodward News that school buses were decorated for child abuse awareness at her operation instead of trees.
"Well, we just don't have as many trees, so we decided to do the awareness for April by decorating the buses," Loomis told the newspaper. "It is a wonderful teaching and learning opportunity."
Loomis also told SBF that her bus drivers attended a training session at the end of the last school year that covered child abuse awareness and prevention.
Blue ribbons hanging on trees (or in the case of Woodward Public Schools’ transportation department, tied on buses) can represent the number of new babies born in a community, the organization’s support for children and/or something significant to the organization, such as the number of families it serves.
"Part of this awareness is to get the news out there that we are all mandated reporters," Karen Harrison, a member of Woodward Area Coalition, told Woodward News. "If you see something, it is important to call the [child abuse] hotline."
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services child abuse and neglect hotline is (800) 522-3511.