MT. WASHINGTON, Ky. (WHAS11) – A simple school project is turning heads of some of the nation’s most powerful politicians and shedding light on the dark world of child abuse.
Austin Hibbard's paper was a firsthand account of how he was abused as a small child, and how his adopted parents have changed his life.
Now Hibbard is trying to shed some light on the fact that Kentucky ranks 41st in general child welfare, and in doing so he has caught the attention of the President himself.
At Crossroads Elementary in Mount Washington, KY, every student has a story to tell.
“I have to wear glasses because I have a tear in my retina on this side, and on this side, I’m partially blind,” Hibbard said.
Austin Hibbard’s story is a little different than most kids his age.
“I was abused when I was little,” Hibbard said. “I had to stay in the hospital by myself for 5 months.”
Austin’s life has taken a positive turn since he was adopted, but he still expresses himself through his work.
“It’s a hurt heart,” Hibbard said while coloring. “I think it’s horrible, and I don’t want anybody to go through it.”
But it’s a paper that he recently wrote about child abuse that is turning heads.
“It was supposed to be an opinion paper, and it turned out to be an essay,” Hibbard said. “Now it’s a masterpiece!”
With his parents’ permission Austin’s paper was sent to Frankfort, and eventually found its way to Washington, drawing a response from President Trump.
“I was looking at it, and I was like man I wish I got a video game instead,” Hibbard said. “Now I like it.”
The President said Austin’s words inspired he and the first lady, and he encouraged him to never give up, echoing Austin’s mission to create a better and brighter future.
“I want them to live good lives, and not go through that,” Hibbard said. “Good things can always happen.”
If you suspect child abuse it is important to speak up and tell your principal, teacher, or call the police.