Defense training 'an essential part of college, life preparation'

Jan 3, 2018

In the brief time that Old Rochester Regional High School has offered Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training, female students are reaping the rewards.

The students, according to Old Rochester Assistant Superintendent Elise Frangos, have reported that they felt better prepared to travel, navigate the workplace or walk around college campuses with the training they received.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace and at school is averted when all individuals know their rights, respect themselves, and are empowered with the mindset and physical skills to prevent advances or assault,” Frangos said. She added that the training was an essential part of workplace and college preparation for any high school student.

About half of the high school’s ninth and tenth graders underwent RAD training in the fall semester, Frangos reported. The other half of the students will have the same training in the spring. By March, all ninth and tenth graders (about 300 students) will have had training. Responses from students on the survey regarding training showed that all of them felt more confident protecting themselves after completing the course.

Frangos said the students, who reported high satisfaction with the training course, hoped to have even more defense simulations and practice time in the future.

The course was financed via a grant Frangos received from Southcoast Health. The grant paid for two teachers from the high school to go through defense training, and then teach it to the students. The school used the remaining grant money to pay for instruction booklets for each student.

The training is now a unit of Grade 9 and 10 physical education.

Of course, women are not the only ones who could benefit from anti-harassment and defense training. “The students would really like a boys’ de-escalation course,” Frangos reported. “The course would help young men at ORR to diffuse violence…so that if they are in a potentially violent situation, or one of being sexually harassed, they know how to extricate themselves from it.”

With that in mind, Frangos said that she will be sending the same two teachers to the male training, which will occur this spring.

Frangos’ plan is to create a RAD certification program at the high school in the future. “Any students who have taken the training course can take free refresher or advanced courses at their colleges or universities,” she explained.