Strasburg students learn self defense

STRASBURG – Strasburg High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America students kicked and punched their way through attack simulations Friday, arming students with ways to defend themselves against assault.

Heather Hiserman, Strasburg High School’s FCCLA advisor, said 16 students spent one hour a day for 12 days preparing for the attack simulation, learning ways to defend themselves against an aggressor.

She said the simulation is part of R.A.D. training, which stands for Rape Aggression Defense training. She partnered with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office to bring this resource to her students.

Students learned what to do if they are attacked, such as how to punch, kick and yell their way out of scary situations.

Hiserman said her students were excited for the simulation, but were also nervous because they didn’t know what to expect. In one simulation, the student was asked to imagine she is in a mall, walking up to an ATM machine when the attacker jumped behind the student and picked her up. The student had to kick and punch with all her strength to break free and run for safety.

Students were brought into the room one at a time to face their attacker. While waiting her turn, one student said she was a little nervous, but also excited to see how prepared she really was for an attack.

All students and the attacker wore pads on the chest, elbows, knees and a face mask to prevent injury during the simulation. The floor was also padded to prevent injuries from falls.

Hiserman said she wanted her students to “feel empowered” to protect themselves from assault and said the program gave them the knowledge and tools to practice in a safe environment.

Students were told to scream “Stop!” and “Get Away” to draw attention to the scene and hopefully scare the attacker away. They were also taught punching and kicking techniques, including head butting to subdue the attacker and escape his grasp, allowing the victim to run to safety. Students were also told not to hold their breath during an attack.

An officer told students after the simulation that when moving to a new city or town, whether for college or work, to check out what local resources are available in the area, such as other R.A.D. programs and where the police stations are located.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com