Self-defense program teaches students how to be confident, self-reliant.
By Jason KUROSU
Lincoln Elementary students have been privy to a different form of education thanks to P.E. teacher Janet Goliger.
Goliger, who has worked within the Glendale Unified School District since 1991 and is also a second-degree black belt, has been teaching her self-defense course to Lincoln students, educating them on how to defend themselves if necessary from attackers.
Fourth through sixth graders meet twice a week with Goliger on Lincoln’s field, lining up in rows and at arm’s length from the nearest student in order to have enough room to practice the various exercises and maneuvers. Goliger instructs the students from her own instructional program C.L.A.S.S. – Children Learning Awareness, Safety and Self-Defense.
C.L.A.S.S. has not only yielded training programs at various schools throughout the district and even outside of the country, but also a teacher’s manual, instructional DVD and a book, “I Need to be Safe: I’m worth it,” a 2007 Irwin Book Award Winner.
“Children should be able to walk the streets without being harassed,” said Goliger. “I want to take the fear out of [the kids’] everyday lives and give them power. I’m giving them tools with which they can empower themselves.”
A recent class featured a lesson on several techniques, such as the heelstomp. The students stomped their feet in unison and screamed, “No!” to their invisible attackers.
Goliger explained how she had to modify her training program for children to become C.L.A.S.S.
“Obviously, children are going to be smaller than their attackers. So these techniques are based on balance and the element of surprise rather than power and strength.”
An example of utilizing balance and the element of surprise was the next lesson of pulling one’s attacker close to them.
“There’s no rule that says you can’t hold onto your attacker,” Goliger said. “Your attacker expects you to run away. Pulling them close not only gives the child balance, but throws the attacker off, leaving them open to attack.”
However, Goliger wants to make sure the children understand the realities of an attacker situation.
“I don’t want to give the kids a false sense of confidence,” said Goliger. “I want them to know what their limitations are and that it’s okay to go to an adult if they need help.”
For more information on C.L.A.S.S. or other training programs and materials, visit www.classeducation.org.