I printed up more than 150 copies of a letter to students of Roosevelt high school. The letter was on the topics of rape in schools, weapons, self-defense classes and martial arts. The idea is to encourage students to think about learning or classes to improve their self-defensive abilities, and to consider carrying weapons suitable for their age or situations.
Here is the letter:
Greetings the students of Roosevelt High school!
Monday, May 15, 2017
If it matters you, I would mention a problem that some of the students up in Mountlake Terrace High school have had. According to local police and victims, one fellow, a “former” student at MTHS, has raped between 2 and 7 young women MTHS students in the last 18 months.
It seems likely that the fellow has raped several more than 2 of the students. The news we have of the Mountlake Terrace rapes is what we read in the student newspaper called the Hawkeye. (No news of the rapes seems to be found on the official website of MTHS.) A person may read the Hawkeye online at thehawkeye.org. There are 3 or more different articles which either tell the story of the rapes or mention the rapes. According to one of them, “The girl allegedly listed six other victims, including the girl who had accused Krause of assaulting her in January, [detective] Froisland wrote . . .”
This article is here http://thehawkeye.org/16831/news/former-student-arrested-on-rape-charge/
(Please note that if we go to the official website of Mountlake Terrace high school, and if we use the search function and search for rape, there seems to be no trace or mention of the recent rapes. To be fair to the district, komonews does claim that at the time of the first reported rape, the school district made robo-calls to homes of the students. What was said in the robo-calls, we don’t know!! Whether any robo-calls or secret MTHS letter recommended weapons or fighting back is uncertain.)
In any case, it appears that, if the 2nd girl who has made a public accusation of rape is correct, the student named Krause has raped approximately six other young women in the space of the last 18 months or so–though several of the other young ladies have, for their own reasons, chosen not to complain officially.
Now, it might be a puzzle to you as to how one schoolkid could rape seven or so young woman students before being stopped, if things have happened as the victims allege.
The district says that the safety of students is their first concern, but if past experience is any guide, their concern seems to have not got to including recommending pepper spray, weapons or fighting tactics to the kids.
One of the students was raped at about 4 in the afternoon in a school hallway, in Jan 2016. One of the other students was raped after she accepted a ride home from work from the rapist, in Sept. The 2nd victim alleges there were 5 others! Now, I am writing to you, because, strange as it may be, around the time of the publication of some articles in the hawkeye, one of the young student reporters of the hawkeye called me up for an interview with me on the topic of weapons. (Guns, in fact.) And I then read the online kids newspaper.
Now, please realize that the efforts of the MTHS to protect its young women from rape appear to have been somewhat ineffective, judging from what seem to be the results.
In March 2016, the online MTHS student newspaper ran an article about rape. The article has the last section on the topic, “How can sexual assault be prevented?” This article also says that principal Greg Schwab and others were seriously pondering how the rape in January 2016 might have been prevented! Yes!! Hmmm. Really!! Now, maybe the article on rape was missing some useful ideas . . . and/or the ideas did not prevent subsequent rapes of the Krause type.
One idea that the article advocates is to set boundaries and to communicate . . . but there was nothing about having a womens self-defense class, learning martial arts or the use of weapons, but please, girls should have some boundaries!!!! OMFG, what a great idea!!! Having boundaries will help stop rapes!!! Yes, great! Now, here is an article on the Net about teaching a martial arts class in school in Arizona. I can’t say if they have anything like that in Washington state. http://archive.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/2012/08/28/20120828mesa-pe-teacher-touts-virtues-martial-arts.html
But here in Washington state, maybe, self-defense in schools is just forbidden!
If I may, forgive my mentioning some basic weapons and self-defense ideas. These ideas are absent from the article about sexual assault in the Hawkeye and they were also absent from the “principal’s letter” sent out by Jeff Clark after two Denny MS students in West Seattle were nearly abducted in 2015.
Why would I mention them? Well, it turns out that I’ve been threatened various times and hit a few times; so yes, I have at least been assaulted a few times. Now, the school probably does not let you carry knives at school, but knives can be very useful outside of school and, generally speaking, short folding knives that lock are legal to carry, even for you, outside of school grounds. Seattle law allows for people to carry locking folding knives which have a blade of 3.5” or less. And such knives can be fearsome and they can be a useful deterrent. At least, they could be very bloody.
Off of school property, you folks can carry some very nice knives; just be careful about brandishing them without good cause or using them to steal someone’s wallet or cell phone. (Brandishing in self-defense is ok; there is exemption in the law against brandishing, allowing for self-defense.) rcw 9.41.270(3)(c) The law on the use of force or brandishing is something you might learn, if your club or PE class covered it.
Kids over 14 can carry pepper spray with the mom or dad’s permission, even on school property. If you go to the grocery store, there are other weapons for sale there for less than $20. Some of them are not forbidden at school. At the grocery, there are clear plastic rulers for sale and there is also hair spray and anti-fungal or jock itch spray. Sometimes there is oven-cleaning spray and some stores sell scissors. These items can be quite harmful and perhaps your school has not yet banned carrying hairspray. The school actually MUST allow you to carry pepper spray; you can look up pepper spray in the rcw.
Some weapons are fantastic if you can draw and brandish them before a rapist has knocked you to the ground and before he can grab them out of your hand. If you have spray, don’t use it in a way that the guy can grab your wrist before you spray him. Some women are reluctant to use spray for fear the guy will grab your wrist or knock your hand away. I prefer edged weapons. But pepper spray is a start.
The other thing that some of you may wish to consider is for you or your mom or dad to invest in your taking a self defense class at a local martial arts studio. For $100 or $150, you will learn about tactics likely to fail and others which are likely to work. If you need to fundraise, ask the RAM restaurant about some fundraising. They support the community in some useful ways.
Of course, one thing that would be really nice is for the school itself to teach you martial arts or the content of some “women’s” self-defense classes.
If we go to the online student manual for RHS, we see that p 30 contains a listing of six PE classes. Do any of them teach you how to fight off an attacker? We don’t really know!
If someone tries to rape you in a school hallway at 4 o’clock, at least you won’t be blaming school for having taught you any ineffective tactics! Ha! No RHS ineffective tactics for you!
Yoga is great and I do yoga. I also lift some weights. Things missing from RHS PE choices may be wing chun, wushu, karate and kajukenbo. If some evil-doer grabs your wrist, how do you free your wrist? Go Master Wong!! If some evil-doer has knocked or pushed you to the ground, how do you respond? Do you just let him rape you, if he knocks you down? What do you do on the ground? Some schools do teach martial arts at school, whether in America or in Japan. Now school kids learning martial arts in Japan has not made Japan too violent!
If you talk to the principal, your parents or the police, even they will agree that it is OK for you to learn to escape from a wrist grab or a choke-hold. So, some of you could ask your principal about how to escape wrist grabs, from choke-holds and how to stomp kick. Or, lets ask Greg Schwab, principal of MTHS!
David zaitzeff, [email protected], greenlakewalking.net