By TIM BOULWARE
Montana fifth graders are being asked to showcase their artistic talent with the overall goal of
emphasizing an important message. The Montana Department of Justice and Office of Public Instruction is asking Montana fifth graders create posters to articulate the message of bringing our children home ahead National Missing Children’s Day.
Montana Attorney General spokeswoman Anastasia Burton on what kids need to know before entering:
“The artwork has to be handcrafted, it has to be on an 8 ½ by 14 sheet of paper, the words ‘Bring Our Missing Children Home,’ have to appear on the poster. Once we receive them in they’ll be judge on originality, creativity, use of color and reflection of the contest theme,” Burton said.
Burton on why it is the right time to involve fifth graders for this contest to educate them about their own safety.
“When children reach fifth grade they’re sort of at this critical juncture of learning about personal
awareness,” Burton said. “Many of them might already have phones, they might be getting phones, so they need to learn how to be safe while on their phone. They need to be aware of who’s around them.
“Really the contest is a good jumping off point for teachers and parents to talk to children at that age about how to be safe.”
This issue is vitally important for the families who have been affected by an abducted child.
“Since 2003, our department has issued 34 Amber Alerts, 49 children were involved and were located, but tragically four of them were deceased,” Burton said.
There is a new mobile app that is hoping to help locate missing children quicker, when time is of the essence. It’s called Code Red and was started last year.
“The beauty of them is it offers more flexibility than the previous system did (Amber Alert alone). We can attach photos, where as before we couldn’t do that and the text you receive on your phone are longer and have more detail,” Burton said.
Deadline for entry is February 9 th . Winners will get $100 in cash and a classroom pizza party with a visit from Attorney General Tim Fox. Submissions should be sent to:
Montana Department of Justice
Missing Persons Clearinghouse
2225 11th Ave.
PO Box 201406
Helena, MT 59620
Or visit the website for an application form.