has been offering Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training to junior girls for several years with members of the Wayland Police Department generally providing the classes.
But with community policing dollars disappearing and more girls wanting to take the training than there were available spots, something needed to change.
Those changes are coming with the 2012-13 school year thanks to eight members of the WHS faculty and staff who spent three days this summer earning certification to teach the RAD course themselves.
Chris Brown, Sam Breslin, Joe Cincotta, Amanda Cosenza, Amy Schoeff, Allyson Mizoguchi and Scott Parseghian were all certified to teach RAD.
The 30-hour training took place in August at Wayland High School. Twenty-five individuals from all parts of New England spent three days at WHS for the course.
Pat Iapicca is the Massachusetts director of RAD, an international program developed at Old Dominion University in 1989. Iapicca became a RAD instructor in ’89 and a trainer in ’98. His work with the program has earned him a spot in the RAD Hall of Fame.
But what exactly is RAD?
“RAD is not a martial arts program,” Iapicca is quick to stress. “The program is designed around the way men typically attack women. RAD gives women options. If you decide to take action, here are some options.”
Iapicca said RAD emphasizes the importance of awareness of an environment as that awareness can very often lead to avoidance of a dangerous situation.
“The best fight is the one you were never in,” Iapicca said. If, however, a woman decides to take action when attacked, RAD is designed to help women “quickly, efficiently and effectively disable their aggressor and escape.”
At the end of the three-day training, Mizoguchi, WHS assistant principal, said she truly felt empowered to handle a dangerous situation should she find herself in one.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all response,” she said. “At least I have some skill now. It felt good to go through it together.”
Mizoguchi explained that the RAD training has been offered to junior girls as a part of their wellness curriculum. She explained that the girls who take the course spend the second semester of their wellness class in a separate classroom completing the training. Each year, there are spots for 60 girls to take the training, but Mizoguchi said it’s not uncommon for 90 to want to do it.
“It’s a big statement about making this more available to girls,” Mizoguchi said of the WHS faculty and staff who trained to instruct. “It’s a great time for us to make this commitment with a new wellness instructor [starting].”
Parseghian, the dean of students and WHS football coach, said the new availability of instructors meant RAD classes could be opened up to the larger Wayland community.
“I’d love to offer a mother-daughter class at night,” Parseghian said.
He added that he hopes girls who might have been tentative about taking the class will now be more willing to take it since teachers they already know and trust will be the instructors.
“We just certified eight teachers who have great connections with the students,” Parseghian said. “We want to see every WHS girl go through this before they graduate.”
Mizoguchi said WHS decided to take the leap into training more instructors after several factors came together “all at once.” She explained that the reduction in community policing dollars meant the program may have had to shrink, but at the same time, WHS graduate Lauren Astley’s murder in July 2010 put a spotlight on violence against women.
“I want parents to know that we want their kids to be safe,” Mizoguchi said. “This high school is kind of their last stop before they head out into the world. It’s about empowerment and making good decisions. They have the power to defend themselves.”
Parseghian said he would consider offering a mother-daughter RAD class in late fall if there is sufficient interest. He asked that interested individuals email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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