The Southwest R-V School District Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) will sponsors women's self-defense classes in the high school gymnasium during January.
The classes, which are for Southwest Middle School and High School students and their mothers, will be taught by Ernest Freeman, Rosenbach Warrior Training Branches (RWTB), Cassville Family Martial Arts Center instructor.
"When I was 19 I was attacked in Cassville," said Carla Peterson, Southwest PTO treasurer. "People don't think things can happen to them in small towns but they can. In light of what happened to Rowan Ford, I thought this might be a good thing to offer in our community."
The women's self-defense class is being offered at no cost to female middle school and high school students who attend the R-V School District. Mothers who are interested in attending a class with their daughter can do so for $10.
"My children attend classes at the Family Martial Arts Center in Cassville and when I found out they offered a women's self-defense class I attended," said Peterson. "Most of the things Ernest teaches are common sense, but they are things that you don't really think about."
During the class, Freeman teaches women parking lot safety and self-defense skills that can be used in a variety of situations.
"He teaches you how to take down a person with a slap," said Peterson. "He also shows you what to do if you are grabbed from behind."
Classes are conducted using male volunteers who are different heights and weights, which allow the female students to learn how to defend themselves against a variety of attacks, said Peterson.
Freeman, who has 17 years of experience teaching women's self-defense classes, will be assisted by Lieutenant Dana Kammerlohr, of the Barry County Sheriff's Department, said Peterson.
The Southwest PTO is offering four women's self-defense classes, which will serve around 200 female students. Currently, around 75 individuals have signed up to participate in one of the self-defense classes.
Classes, which are four hours in length, will be held from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 12, and from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 19.
"If we have over 100 parents sign up for the classes we will be able to offer adult admission for $5 instead of $10," said Peterson. "If we have more than 200 women interested in the classes we will schedule more classes to be held on Jan. 26."
For more information on the women's self-defense classes or to register for a class, call Peterson at 835-2116 or John Banks at 826-5916.