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Mandatory self-defense classes might ease fears

Art by Yoo Young Chun

Art by Yoo Young Chun

Central Times Staff

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On deadline days, our staff has been known to stay at school until as late as 10:30 p.m. As our editorial board is composed of only upperclassmen, many of us drive to school. And because not all of us have a parking spot in the
senior lot, we do have to walk for some time to get to our spots and then go home. And that used to not be a problem.

After all, we live in Naperville. What’s the worst that could happen?

However, the recent flashing incidents that have occurred in the Rotary Hill and Centennial Beach parking lot, where many Central students park, have served as a wake-up call. The majority of our editorial board is female. And the flasher has only targeted female students from Central.

For this month’s deadlines, those of us with cars have parked closer to Central, moving them after school lets out to spots nearby. If possible, we don’t walk alone. Better not to risk it.

We tend to forget that Naperville is not a quaint, provincial town. Naperville is suburban, with almost 150,000 people residing within city borders. What happens in Chicago could very well happen here. And it does. There’s nothing that we can do about that. Urbanization is truly an unstoppable force. But there are ways to prevent any other students from having to be put in the position that all the flasher’s victims have been forced to be in.

The first step is awareness and properly handling the issue. The Naperville Police Department has decided to patrol the area more carefully after multiple reports were received. An announcement was made in the first week of second semester to address the issue for the entire student body in addition to an earlier Talk203 sent out to the parents.

The victims we interviewed were in disagreement as to whether or not the school and the Naperville Police Department were successful in this. And we believe that more can be done.

Yes, we should walk with a buddy and move our cars after school lets out if we’re staying late for an extracurricular activity. But, more practically, we should learn basic self-defense skills, which we do believe that Central is making
an effort to encourage.

Central’s self-defense program has been refined over the time that it has been a part of the PE curriculum, and many female students have taken it. And the male self-defense program, which was introduced this school year, is becoming a popular PE choice for students. However, we believe that it should be required that all students take a self-defense course before they graduate. Currently, students are required to take two swimming credits and a health credit. We do
understand the benefits of these courses. But we also believe that there is value to taking a self-defense course, which has only been highlighted by the recent flashing incidents.

And this does not apply to only female students, despite the flasher’s choice to only target females. Male students should also learn self-defense skills, and we applaud Central for not only bringing attention to this, but for creating a male self-defense program.

For Central’s self-defense program to be effective, however, all students must take it. And that is why our editorial board is advocating for self-defense to become a required PE credit. 

Naperville, despite the popular belief, is not completely safe and secluded. There’s no way to change that or to get people like the flasher to stop, but we can prevent such incidents from happening. And that’s what we’re asking for.

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