Art bal­loons for child pro­tec­tion

Alpine Observer - - News -

SAINT Mary’s Myrtle­ford Pri­mary School prepara­tory to year four stu­dents took to the school pave­ment with chalk on Fri­day to demon­strate their aware­ness of per­sonal safety and pro­tec­tion strate­gies.

The chil­dren ob­served ‘White Bal­loon Day’ by dress­ing in white, mak­ing paper masks of vir­tual bal­loons and draw­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions of these sym­bols of cel­e­bra­tion to show that they un­der­stood the need to speak up for them­selves if ever they felt threat­ened.

Teacher Julie Humphreys, who co­or­di­nated the ac­tiv­i­ties, told the chil­dren they each had a right to feel safe with other peo­ple.

“It’s okay to say ‘ No’ if you feel un­safe or un­sure,” she said, ask­ing the stu­dents to re­peat the phrase.

She also en­cour­aged them to speak up.

“There’s noth­ing so yucky that you can’t tell some­one about it,” she said.

White Bal­loon Day was an idea de­vel­oped 21 years ago by Hetty John­ston and the or­gan­i­sa­tion she has since chaired – Brave­hearts Aus­tralia – to raise aware­ness about pro­tect­ing chil­dren from in­ter­fer­ence and sex­ual as­sault.

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