Gilbert ES helps keep kids safe

Child abuse occurs in every zip code and every area of our city, which is why Harlandale ISD once again took part in ChildSafe’s annual Cardboard Kids Campaign.

On April 6, more than 73,000 Cardboard Kids were decorated and placed all across the city. Each Cardboard Kid had a name and directed anyone who finds a Cardboard Kid to post a photo on social media and use the hashtag #CardboardKidsSA.

The idea behind the campaign is to shed light on child abuse and to spark a conversation about it between parents and children.

Gilbert ES took the campaign even further this year by hosting Parent Coffee sessions. The day before the big reveal, representatives from ChildSafe and Girls Inc. were on hand to talk to parents about the different ways to identify and prevent abuse and neglect of children.

“About 90 percent of the time, the perpetrator is someone the child knows, loves and trusts, so it can be anybody,” ChildSafe Education and Prevention Specialist Jerry Mauricio said. “The key is to try to have communication with the kids.”

Gilbert ES staff is doing their part by teaching students the RAD Kids curriculum. Every Friday, students are trained and empowered with skills to recognize, avoid, resist and escape violence or harm in their lives.

“Kids learn to stand up for themselves when they feel unsafe in a situation,” Gilbert ES Counselor Judith Pfeifer explained. “The first rule is that no one has a right to hurt them because they are special, the second rule is that they don’t have the right to hurt anyone, including themselves.”

The curriculum emphasizes on the importance of telling a trustworthy adult if they are being hurt.

Fourth grade student Jacquelyn Gonzalez decorated her Cardboard Kid as a Gilbert Mustang cheerleader. 

“Here at our school we know the rules to keep students safe, and we hope this will keep other kids safe too,” Jacquelyn said. “I don’t have the right to hurt anyone and if someone is trying to hurt me, I can stop them. If someone makes me feel bad inside, I know it is not my fault and I can tell someone.” 

Cardboard Kid

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