Children leading way to domestic peace

Hattiesburg youth are learning valuable lessons about domestic violence prevention.

Ten 6th graders in the Hattiesburg schools were honored at a luncheon Wednesday for their winning entries in a district-wide poster contest which wraps up Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The contest theme, "What does love look like?" challenges students to come up with their own feelings and ideas on the subject — ideas that organizers say remind kids that love and domestic violence are mutually exclusive.

"With this, we wanted the kids to go home and ask their parents and get their parents involved," says Trista McInnis, victim advocate with the Hattiesburg Police Department. "It's very important because domestic violence in Mississippi is ranked second-highest in the nation."

The lunch was sponsored by the police and district attorney's offices, Turtle Creek Mall, and the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter.

The 10 honorees were awarded gift certificates, including first-place winner George Roberts, a 6th grade student at Lillie Burney.