RICHMOND — Imagine a morning scene at Westview Elementary School.

Children clamber down school bus stairs and make their way inside the building. Others hop out of cars and head into the school.

They come by the hundreds, filling classrooms ready to learn.

Now, imagine each student represents a Wayne County child who was abused — sexually or physically — or neglected during 2018. The entire school.

Indiana Department of Child Services monthly reports from 2018 show 324 substantiated cases of Wayne County children being neglected, sexually abused or physically abused during the year. That's more children than attend Westview (295 enrollment, according to the Indiana Department of Education) or Starr (281) elementary schools. If nine Vaile (333) students are absent, the attendance would match that DCS total.

Amazingly, that 324 number from 2018 actually represents some good news, too. It's a 22.30-percent reduction from the 417 Wayne County children neglected or abused during 2017. That 417 exceeds the enrollment at Charles Elementary (385) and matches Crestdale Elementary's listed enrollment.

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