Security for students

The common misconception regarding our town is that we live in a perfect community. Tragedy has hit us in the past, and even if crime hasn’t personally affected you, letting your guard down and blowing caution to the wind just because we live in a “pleasant suburb” is foolish. But most of us do not stay in the LaGrange, Western Springs or Brookfield area forever. People graduate and go to college. We are a generally safe area but what about campus life?

According to RAINN, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 23.1 percent of females and 5.4 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault. When this many university students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation, something must be done.

The fact that our town is “nice” means nothing when you get to college. If we act as if nothing bad is going to happen, then we will not be ready if it does. We need to be able to protect ourselves once we leave the community. Knowing self-defense is critical, and everyone should be able to pull off the basic skills which is why Lyons Township High School needs to offer a course outside of school or have a unit in gym specifically for self defense.

Oak Park River Forest High School offers a variety of classes that cover self defense; one of the classes is the Wellness and Gender Studies course, and it is for one semester. The first part of this course involves the theory and practice of self-defense. Discussions and guest speakers address topics such as healthy and unhealthy relationships, the influence of media on culture, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, bullying, and how to avoid violence and unsafe situations. That course is for all genders. For females, there is a Wellness and Gymnastics course, and it briefly covers self defense.

If we can’t find a way to fit that into our curriculum, then LT should offer a workshop outside of school. LT could propose a free Self-Defense Clinic, organized by physical education teachers or certified self-defense teachers, to prepare all genders for after high school by reviewing self-defense skills, assault laws, resources, and individual safety tactics in cities and college campuses, and even our community. Even if you believe that our community is a Utopia, what about when people move away? If we teach the skills at the base, then the students will become the teachers. The things you learn in our town, you can bring to wherever you go.

The sad truth is this: to stay safe, you have to learn to protect yourself. It would be so great if assaulters didn’t assault, and rapists didn’t rape. If only it was that easy. However, we live in a world where malicious people walk the streets. Alongside those bad people, we need to have men and women who know how to defend themselves, and will teach their children how to do that too.

The students of Lyons Township High School should be taught these skills before they leave so they can be prepared to take on the world. Do not live in fear, but be cautious, be safe, and if LT supports the program, you will also be ready to defend yourself.