Girl Up hosts Self Defense Class
May 9, 2018
Officers Brandon Pettit and Mackenzie Sposeto helped educate a group of Waukee students on how to defend themselves this week on Tuesday night. The event, organized by the Girl Up club at Waukee High School, consisted of an hour long session where volunteers from the Waukee Police Department taught self defense techniques and basic safety information. Everyone had the opportunity to sign up, regardless of gender or grade. Participants learned general safety information about how to avoid predators or dangerous situations, and how to defend themselves in the event of an attacker so that they can get to safety. This was the first time the class was offered, but the club is hoping that they can organize more self defense classes in the future. The session costed $10, proceeds collected from the class will go to charity. “We’re still in the process of deciding the charity, but we’re hoping to send it to either the Girl Up Headquarters or giving it to a local charity that benefits women in the Des Moines Metro,” stated senior Olivia Gagnon, the clubs founder and president.
The course was split into two parts. The first part discussed how to avoid dangerous situations, tips like avoiding walking at night and parking under streetlights. It also discussed the importance of carrying something to defend yourself, and what to use as a weapon. After discussing, Waukee police officers instructed participants on how to properly throw punches, kicks, and more using training bags for the second portion. The officers also showed how to break out of an attackers grip, and how one could distance themselves from the situation. “I enjoyed the way that it was broken up into teaching, a more instruction part of the class, and the hands-on learning. I thought that was interesting, that we were able to combine knowledge with practice,” explained Gagnon. One of the activities the participants went through had one person surrounded by four people all holding training pads. The person in the middle would listen for officer Pettit to shout a number and then attack the corresponding training pad. “I also really liked the way they answered questions, they were really helpful with letting everyone take a turn and learn what they needed to.”
The club advertised the self defense class by hanging up posters in the hallways of the high school, and mentioning it in the schools monthly ‘MVP’ lessons, where upperclassmen talk to the sophomores about school safety during weekly advisory. “I heard about the self defense class because I saw the posters, and I had some friends in Girl Up that talked about it. I’ve always wanted to take a self defense class and never was able to,” stated Katie Ogden, a sophomore at WHS. “I enjoyed practicing the self defense techniques that were demonstrated.”
For those who missed this opportunity, the club may organize the class again sometime next year as this school year comes to a close.