Add self defense classes to public schools
News reports indicate that people are joining martial arts schools and flocking to free self defense seminars. Let’s hope the interest remains when the shock and pain of these tragedies begin to subside. Because that’s when the community will be most vulnerable.
Communities often react to violent crime with an intense interest in personal safety. Self defense class enrollment spikes, weapon sales go up, watchdog groups sprout on every corner. It’s a reasonable and smart reaction to feeling vulnerable and afraid.
But one year from now, two years from now, when the pain and sadness have faded for all but the victims’ family and friends, that heavy feeling of vulnerability will begin to evaporate. Personal protection and self defense will no longer seem as relevant as it is today in the wake of a tragedy.
It’s a natural process and probably a healthy one. It allows the community to move forward. Yet it also leads back to the status quo, and the status quo among too many of us is a lack of diligence when it comes to personal safety. (I addressed this issue earlier in Chelsea King’s final 5 lessons for us all.)
We need to make personal safety a more permanent aspect of our lives. Self defense classes deserve a slot in the public school curriculum. Schools should bring in a self defense instructor once a year for a week or two of self defense training, including awareness, avoidance and self defense techniques. Make it part of the annual curriculum, and adjust the classes to fit different age groups.
A civil attorney from the San Diego area has proposed the idea in a column for SignOn San Diego. She has argued the case much more eloquently than I can, so I encourage you to check out her post, Self-Defense Curriculum Needed.
As tragic as it is to lose two teens to violent crime, the bigger tragedy is that it will happen again. We need to prepare children and teens for the worst, even as we pray for the best.