Ohio Republicans push to mandate self-defense training for high school students

Republican lawmakers in the Ohio Legislature introduced a bill requiring high school students to complete self-defense classes to graduate.

“Young women between the ages of 16-19 are the most vulnerable to be sexually assaulted,” Ohio Rep. Tom Young (R) said in a statement. “This training will also provide opportunity for development of relationships between students and their local law enforcement and school resource officers.”

State Reps. Young and Andrea White introduced House Bill 639, also called the Student Protection Act, which would mandate that Ohio students entering ninth grade starting on July 1, 2023, must complete self-defense training as part of health instruction to receive a diploma.

“Each school district or chartered nonpublic school shall determine which courses meet the training requirements of this section and how often individuals providing health instruction shall be required to complete a course in self-defense training,” according to the legislation.

“Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and assault are never OK. These behaviors should never be tolerated or go unreported,” White said in a statement. “Reinforcing this message with our young people, while equipping them with defensive tactics and proactive strategies, will help them protect themselves and avoid dangerous situations.”

Learning self-defense can help students in the Buckeye State recognize signs and symptoms relating to mental health issues and identify aggressive behavior in fellow students, she added.

Young echoed White’s sentiments and explained how the training would benefit the state’s female students.

The training will include demonstrations by either a school resource officer or a certified self-defense instructor.



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