Self-Defense in Schools: Start with Teaching Techniques in PE

The news is filled with stories of violence in schools. Commentaries and social media posts often describe these events as tragedies. Still, the truth is that someone deciding to commit a violent act against anyone, much less a child, should not receive a minimized descriptor.

Murder is not a tragedy. Violent attacks are not mishaps or unfortunate events.

When we start taking an honest look at how things are instead of putting events inside a manageable mental box, we can begin to develop solutions for our societal problems.

An easy way to start that journey is to be teaching self-defense tactics in schools. The perfect time for that is during PE classes.

Children Who Know Self-Defense Tactics Can Protect Themselves

If students learn self-defense strategies at school, they are better equipped to handle unexpected circumstances if they occur. Whether that means a bad guy with a weapon comes onto the campus, or a bully decides to make a statement on the playground, tactical awareness leads to fewer injuries and a better chance to survive.

The idea of running, hiding, and then fighting sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t provide practical tools for kids or teachers.

  • What good is it to have an interior lock on a door if no one can stop someone with evil intent from entering a classroom before it’s too late?
  • How can children hide in a classroom when limited spaces are available?
  • Are there escape routes for people to use if someone tries to harm them?

The horrific stories we see show that when students have tactical awareness, they have a chance to survive. Miah Cerrillo survived the events in Uvalde by smearing blood across her body and playing dead until she saw an opportunity to dial 911.

First graders in Sandy Hook took the brief time it took a gunman to reload to run past him and escape to safety.

Practical lessons that gym teachers or community leaders can provide in schools can deliver more ways for everyone to protect themselves.

How We Can Turn the Tide with Self-Defense Knowledge

The benefits of self-defense go beyond the knowledge of using a stun gun or a taser to defend oneself if there is an intent to harm others in the environment.

When students learn how to protect themselves, they are working out with a purpose. Why send teens on a long run if that time could be used to teach them how to defend themselves in practical ways.

Self-defense techniques support better reflexes, balance improvements, and stress reduction. More importantly, this information gives people of all ages more confidence in themselves and what they can do during crisis situations.

When kids learn how to defend themselves, they also discover how to deescalate situations that occur.

Practical tools can protect our schools, including pepper sprays and other non-lethal interventions. When everyone learns how to defend themselves appropriately, they’ll have tools to implement if the unthinkable happens.

That investment won’t solve every problem, but it may give us a step forward to take.