North Texas Daily

Students march for awareness

Students march for awareness

November 10
23:28 2009

MULTIMEDIA

By Alba Torres / Intern –
(Video by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

Students from social work practice classes brought homemade noisemakers, signs and balloons in front of Wooten Hall on Tuesday to raise awareness about child abuse.

At 11 a.m., the students kicked off the annual Drop Dead Day, clad in their blue and yellow shirts that read “There’s No Excuse for Child Abuse.”



“In Denton County there are 167,632 children in the population, and there were 1,000 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect,” said Camille Massey, in charge of communications for the day.

UNT students rallied at Wooten Hall for Drop Dead Day on Tuesday, a march that began at Wooten Hall and ended at the Denton Square. Marchers fell to the ground and left only four standing to signify the number of children affected by child abuse on a daily basis. (Photo by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

UNT students rallied at Wooten Hall for Drop Dead Day on Tuesday, a march that began at Wooten Hall and ended at the Denton Square. Marchers fell to the ground and left only four standing to signify the number of children affected by child abuse on a daily basis. (Photo by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

Drop Dead Day was thought up by Kadetrah Moffet, a social work senior who read about a similar event at a high school in South Dakota.

Moffet said she felt she, along with the help of her classmates, could organize an event to inform Denton about the severity of child abuse.

Moffet pitched the idea to her social practice III class and they all said they agreed it was a project they could handle.

They informed students in other social work classes and distributed 200 fliers throughout campus.

Teachers encouraged their students to attend the event by allowing them to leave class early to participate in the march, Moffet said.

However, she said they faced some obstacles, including a lost permit from the police department, but were able to solve the problem in time for Drop Dead Day.

Brittany Nichols, a social work senior, and other UNT students marched around the courthouse from Wooten Hall for "Drop Dead Day." The march was dedicated to inform the public about the dangers of child abuse. (Photo by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

Brittany Nichols, a social work senior, and other UNT students marched around the courthouse from Wooten Hall for "Drop Dead Day." The march was dedicated to inform the public about the dangers of child abuse. (Photo by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

Moffet led the group as they marched down Hickory Street to the Denton Square.

En route to the Square, the group made use of their megaphone and noisemakers as they chanted, “I don’t know what you’ve been told, but child abuse is getting old,” as curious passers-by slowed their vehicles to witness the march.

Upon arriving at the Square, the students stood in front of the The Courthouse-on-the-Square and all but four students dropped to the ground. The four individuals that remained standing represented the four children that die daily in the U.S. because of child abuse and negligence.

The group prayed and shared in a moment of silence for the victims of child abuse to end their awareness march.

The students then reflected on the success of Drop Dead Day.

“Hopefully, if people see child abuse or are around it they may be able to think back to what we did and they’ll have the child abuse hotline number and they will be able to make a little bit of a difference,” social work senior Katy Ribinskas said.

UNT students rallied at Wooten Hall for "Drop Dead Day," a march that began at Wooten Hall and was led to the courthouse on the Denton Square.  Marchers fell to the ground, and left only four standing to signify the number of children affected by child abuse on a daily basis. (Photo by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

UNT students rallied at Wooten Hall for "Drop Dead Day," a march that began at Wooten Hall and was led to the courthouse on the Denton Square. Marchers fell to the ground, and left only four standing to signify the number of children affected by child abuse on a daily basis. (Photo by Clinton Lynch / Staff Photographer)

The group emphasized the importance of knowing the child abuse hotline number, which was printed in the back of the T-shirts in hopes that anyone aware of child abuse would be encouraged to report it.

“Our teacher always asks us what the child abuse hotline number is and we are expected to have it memorized,” said Jill Herrera, a social work senior.

The students involved with organizing Drop Dead Day will also host a benefit dinner on Dec. 13 to raise money that will be donated to the Nelson Center.

The event will take place in Dallas at Harwood 609 Jazz Club and will include a live jazz band.

Cost of entry to the event will be $25 per person.

Dinner will be followed by a silent auction. The items up for grabs include two round-trip tickets from Southwestern Airlines, four tickets to the Lewisville Symphony, and bed and breakfast at the Hilton Hotel.

If you suspect child abuse, contact the child abuse hotline at 1 (800) 252-5400.

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