COLUMBUS, Ohio — State Representatives Tom Young, R-Washington Twp., and Andrea White, R-Kettering, introduced legislation that would require high school students to complete self-defense training to receive a diploma.
The Student Protection Act, or House Bill 639, would require all students entering their freshman year in public or private schools to complete self-defense training. The training would be part of the required one-half unity of health instruction under the state's minimum high school curriculum requirement.
“Young women between the ages of 16-19 are the most vulnerable to be sexually assaulted,” Young wrote in a statement. “This training will also provide opportunity for development of relationships between students and their local law enforcement and school resource officers.”
The course must include a demonstration provided by a school resource officer or a certified self-defense instructor. Starting in the 2023-24 school year, all individuals providing health instruction in Ohio high schools would be required to complete a self-defense training course.
“Physical, emotional or sexual abuse and assault are never okay. These behaviors should never be tolerated or go unreported,” White wrote 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.”
White said the training can be paired with teaching early warning signs of mental health difficulties, manipulative or aggressive behaviors.
The Student Protection Act would go into effect with students entering high school after July 2023.