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    Madison Heights Is Using Outdoor Signs to Make an Impact

    Signs outside public buildings are not uncommon. There are those declaring “No soliciting on the premises,” and there are others that tell smokers how far away from the building they have to be (if they are allowed to smoke there at all). Madison Heights, a Detroit suburb, has put up a whole new type of sign in their community, and it is one that is meant to have a social impact.

    Creating No-Hitting Zones

    The signs in Madison Heights are for “No Hit Zones,” and the signs depict stick figures of different colors holding hands under the phrase “Healthy Kids / Safer Communities.” The idea behind them is that people in these established areas are not allowed to hit each other. While the concept is aimed at children, officials say that the signs are meant to do more than discourage adults from disciplining their children with corporal punishment, like spanking; they’re also meant to discourage adults from fighting among each other.

    While critics of these signs say that local governments should not be allowed to tell parents how to raise their children, violating the no-hitting rule carries no actual punishment. The signs are mostly a reminder to community members that violence has an emotional impact as well as a physical one.

    Madison Heights Signs Discourage Hitting

    Image by Tom Woodward via Flickr

    A Madison Heights Councilman Take a Stand

    Madison Heights Councilman David Soltis, a health-care administrator and former EMT, says that he has seen a lot of children harmed by adults in his career. He also says that studies show these same children might grow up to have social issues, like becoming bullies.

    Soltis said to the Detroit Free Press:

    “Obviously, not every kid who gets spanked turns into a juvenile delinquent, but the research shows that more of the children who turn out badly were punished that way.”

    The goal of the signs is to start a conversation in the community about how to discipline children and how to discourage violence between people of all ages.

    How Signs Can Make an Impact

    It is uncommon for outdoor signs like the ones in Madison Heights to carry a social message. As mentioned above, signs like these normally warn of legal prohibitions or give directions. However, that does not mean it is uncommon for indoor signs to carry a message.

    Many small businesses create signs that are meant to inspire. For example, in August, Detroit Sign Factory helped install motivational wall decals in University Prep High School, a school local to Detroit. These decals carried messages like “Learning is Exciting” and “Rep the Prep,” the school’s slogan. The intent was to inspire students and to remind them of how they should behave.

    Businesses that have non-promotional messages can also spread their impact with sign products. Health facilities can have signs reminding people to schedule checkups. Charities can place yard signs reminding people that donations are tax-deductible in the spring. Even putting up signs that give people directions to nearby polling facilities during an election can have a positive impact.

    The signs in Madison Heights are not for a business. They were put up to make a difference in the community, and based on the fact that sources other than the Free Press are now reporting this story too, it seems like they are already starting to make an impact.

    Featured image: “2014 Food & Community Gathering” by W.K. Kellogg Foundation via Flickr
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