With April being Child Abuse Prevention Month agencies which work with abused, abandoned and neglected children are teaming with area schools to rally public awareness to the heartbreaking plague of the mistreatment and neglect of children in Gregg County. Johnston-McQueen Elementary School’s recent “Go Blue Day” stood out within this campaign as it showcased varied and exceptional educational entertainment and such guest speakers as Honorable County Judge Bill Stoudt and Longview Independent School District (LISD) Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo.

“In 2015 alone, 584 children were abused,” Stoudt told the silent audience.

He also made it clear that those responsible for this tragedy can expect harsh justice before the benches of Gregg County judges.

“They will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law this type of crime,” he said.

He expressed his dismay and outright disbelief that anyone could deliberately abuse helpless, innocent babies and children. He made it clear that the fight would not be half-finished. The authorities will not rest until every abused child is rescued and every abuser is brought to account.

“We shouldn’t have to do events like this at all, because children should be safe from things like abuse and neglect,” he said. “But until they are all safe I am glad to recognize those who work to help prevent child abuse as well as our law enforcement.”

Mayo seconded Stoudt’s sentiments and urged the audience to use every resource they could find to protect children, such as organizing neighborhood activities to assist children and supporting agencies that work with abused children. She described children as humanity’s most priceless natural resource.

“Every child deserves a great future, and because children are our future we must make sure they are in the best hands,” she said.

When her turn to speak came, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School Principal Denise Frederick described the event as an appreciation celebration of child protection workers, and

a reminder to those in attendance that the fight to eradicate child abuse is far from finished.

Mayo also spoke on how the support and cooperation of the entire community is needed if we are going to keep our children safe. Stoudt then issued a formal proclamation to support sponsorship of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

LISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox announced that the school district is delighted and honored to be partnering in such a noble initiative as Go Blue Day.

“We believe strongly in serving all the children of our community,” he said. “If programs like Go Blue Day can help just one child be saved from an abuse or neglect situation, Longview ISD will certainly support such a worthy cause.”

Following the program students from Johnston-McQueen released a cloud of blue balloons to commemorate all Gregg County children suffering from abuse and neglect. The youngsters also launched white balloons in tragic memory of children already lost to abuse so far this year.

For more information, please call LISD Administrative Assistant for Administrative and Pupil Services Michelle Navarette at (903) 381-2342.