The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Department is increasing the measure of safety for some of our students wherever they may venture. Thirty-nine tenth grade girls at Stonewall Jackson High School recently completed a R.A.D. Program, a women’s self-defense class which was taught at school during their regular physical education core.
R.A.D. is an abbreviation for Rape. Aggression. Defense Systems, a series of international programs designed in 1989 to address the growing issue of violence against women. R.A.D. Systems now include programs for Men, Seniors, and Kids. Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Deputies Keith Cowart and Paige Frazier, School Resource Officers on the Southern Campus, are certified RAD instructors. (Both in photo, left.)
(Photo by Deputy Mauck and used Courtesy of Woodstock Sheriff's Office.)
“We live in a rural area, and many Shenandoah County kids are naïve,” said Mike Dorman, Principal of Stonewall Jackson High School. “I don’t want students going off to college totally unaware and unprepared for dangers they might face.”
Deputy Cowart, School Resource Officer at Stonewall Jackson, agrees with Mr. Dorman’s view. He added, “Students do not think that anything bad ever happens in Shenandoah County. Students their age are just starting to drive, and they are going places alone,” he said as he provided even more reasons for the self-defense course.
According to the Sheriff’s web site, R.A.D. programs provide “a no nonsense, practical approach to learning simple techniques to keep safe.” R.A.D. programs also include “simple, effective physical defense techniques and strategies” based on a “stun and run” plan.
R.A.D. programs do teach martial arts methods, but the course is not a martial arts program and does not teach fighting. R.A.D. programs demonstrate only self-defense actions.
Olivia Proctor, one of the students who just completed the class, said that it was “neat to see how girls can protect themselves.” She said that she thinks she’ll remember the techniques she learned during the course and that she plans “to practice them” to help herself stay ready for dangerous situations.
Deputy Cowart and Deputy Frazier taught in a “slow way,” said Olivia, “making certain everybody understood what we were doing.” The class made me “confident if I ever got in a bad situation, I could get out,” she added,
On evaluation forms, other students reported that the information from the RAD course was useful, and they also left the class feeling more confident about self-protection.
The R.A.D. course has two distinct parts: book work and physical work. At first, students study risk awareness and prevention strategies. The class continues with physical activities in the event efforts to avoid the conflict fail. Students learn how and when to strike and kick and how to escape from various holds.
||Deputy Frazier explained that during class, "Students kick into the air or hit strike pads.”
However, during their final session, each student is given the opportunity to defend herself against a realistic attack from Deputy Cowart, who poses as the assailant.
Students do not have to face this simulated attack,” emphasized Deputy Frazier. “We make it very clear that participation is optional."
Photo at left: SJHS student has overpowered her assailant. He is down---techniques worked!
This is the fourth year that Deputy Coward has taught the RAD course at Stonewall Jackson High School. He believes that “self-defense should be taught to ladies of all ages.” He found the high school students “very receptive” to instruction and explained that he could see “their eyes were opened” as they listened to real stories he and Deputy Frazier shared from their personal experiences.
Deputy Paige Frazier, who is the School Resource officer at North Fork Middle School, recently became certified as a R.A.D. instructor. She assisted Deputy Cowart with the R.A.D. course at Stonewall Jackson High School.
Later this year, law enforcement will also be teaching self defense classes at the county's other two high schools.