A new self-defense program is being offered by the West Chester Police Department in cooperation with Lakota schools focuses on teaching practical skills for campus safety. The self-defense course is being offered female high school seniors or recent graduates. “We really wanted to give these first-time college students who are going to be on their own for the first time, the tools needed to help them protect and defend themselves from possible threats,” stated Michelle Berling, spokeswoman for West Chester Police Department. Self-defense and Awareness through Fundamental Education — or SAFE — was created as a result of requests from parents and with input from faculty of Lakota Schools. The sessions include guided discussion on topics relevant to a senior girl who will be heading off to college for the first time, with the majority of time spent in rigorous self-defense training. There also is a focus on rape prevention and awareness, personal protection and self-awareness.

The 10-hour self-defense program was offered to Lakota West High School students the week of April 28 and will be offered to Lakota East students the week of May 12. The classes are being offered from 3 to 5 p.m. While these two programs were offered specifically for Lakota high schools, the West Chester Police Department will offer two additional programs this summer, open to recent female graduates. The SAFE classes will be offered 1 to 3 p.m. June 16 through 20, and from 1 to 3 p.m. June 23 through 27. Both sessions will be offered at Lakota West High School in the wrestling room.

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