Van Buren School District’s yearly Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: Break the Silence End the Violence event to bring awareness to domestic violence and abuse is scaling back its initiative this year, organizers said.
Brandy Mosby, a teacher and coach at Butterfield Trail Middle School who is the central organizer for the walk, said the event this year is “going to go back to the basics.”
“We are going to make sure we do the parts we want the kids to really understand well and skip some of the other parts,” Mosby said.
Included in this year’s event, set for Friday, May 19, will be presentations from Bikers Against Child Abuse, the Morgan Nick Foundation, the Van Buren Police Department and the Crisis Intervention Center, Mosby said.
Earlier in the week, students will watch an episode of the Investigation Discovery series Web of Lies dedicated to the story of Angela Allen, a 16-year-old girl from Van Buren who was kidnapped and murdered in 2012 by a man she met online, Mosby said.
Students will learn about Allen and other local victims of abuse and assault, Mosby said.
Silent Witnesses silhouettes, which feature the story and silhouette of an area victim, will be erected in Butterfield’s halls for students to look over as they move between classes that week, Mosby said.
“The kids will be more exposed to that and get to understand that better,” Mosby said.
Students also will be given grade specific assignments related to the event, she said.
Excluded from the event will be the literal walk with decorated shoes and vendors.
Some events that were done when the event was held at the high school have not translated once the event moved to the middle school, Mosby said.
“(The students) don’t understand the concept of putting yourself in someone else’s place,” Mosby said. “We didn’t have the time to do that or get that across.”
Most were happy with having the vendors and information booths at the event, but Mosby felt she didn’t have enough time to give them the attention they deserved and the younger students did not understand their purpose at the event.
“I didn’t feel like we had enough time to get that message to the students that these people were there to support them,” Mosby said.
Mosby also became overwhelmed with the amount of work required to hold the full event each year, she said. It took ten months of preparation to put on the walk, on top of her full-time job of teaching and coaching, she said.
“It was a phenomenal thing, but it took over,” Mosby said.
For Mosby, the most important thing is that the students take something away from the event, she said.
“I think as far as this groups of kids, they’re going to get the real reason why we’re doing this; they’re going to understand what this is about,” Mosby said.