OPINION: Self-defense classes should be offered in Lincoln Public Schools

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OPINION: Self-defense classes should be offered in Lincoln Public Schools

Sophia Merritt, Staff Writer

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On Monday, Sep. 10, Lincoln’s 10/11 Now News published an article about the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) and Good Life Fitness teaming up to host a self-defense class for runners in Lincoln. This collaboration came together after Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was attacked and killed while on a run in Iowa. News about Tibbetts’ fate has hit the running community hard and LPD and Good Life felt they needed to respond.

While it is great to see the community come together to learn the art of self-defense, it is a lot harder for students to have access to these types of classes. This is why I believe that we should provide a class in our public schools that teaches self-defense. Students would then have the choice to choose a course that can make them feel more comfortable in their everyday lives.

My father, Tony Merritt, studied Martial Arts for over 30 years and focused his training on reality-based self-defense and street combat. He says that self-defense is a basic life skill.“[It] can keep you alive when there’s no one to count on but yourself.”

I agree with this because, in life today, it is becoming harder to know if you are in true danger or not. Whether it’s walking downtown alone on a Friday night or walking to your car from your house, there is always the possibility that someone will try to threaten your safety. In an article published by the online magazine Odyssey, there are “.. over 767,000 students in America from ages 12 to 18 that have experienced violent crimes, and more than 67 percent of all sexual assault victims were under the age of 18.” This facts alone should make all teens ask themselves a simple question: “Could I defend myself?” Knowing the correct way to defend yourself in situations like these could be life changing.

The benefits of this class being provided to high school students can protect them in times of need and inform students of situations to avoid.

But getting a class like this on the roster is more difficult than it may seem. LSE Gym teacher Heather Leader says that all new courses have to be approved at the district level. “That way it follows standards, has a curriculum and teachers are properly trained.”

However, even though it may be difficult to add this class, I believe that it could benefit young men and women of all economical backgrounds, due to easy access and free education. With self-defense in LPS curriculum, we could be an overall safer community.