Greetings several friendly acquaintances of some of the administration over at LWHS, most of whom I do not yet know.
This is david zaitzeff of Mercer Island. It is possible that I may have met one of you folks a few days ago at the McDonalds on the Island and that led me to think of you. Forgive my writing to you on a difficult topic
On facebook in some years I have been a member of some weapons rights or awareness groups and in 2017 a student reporter from Mountlake Terrace emailed the group asking to an interview over the phone with someone discussing guns, gun rights and gun policy for a possible story.
I spoke with her and then, not long afterwards, I decided to visit the website of the newspaper of the reporter and of the high school.
As I scrolled through a few of the most recent stories at the hawkeye newspaper website, I came upon one reporting on a former student being charged with rape.
The hawkeye, the student newspaper, has a search box and I put rape into the search box and I found that there were 3 or 4 different news articles in the Hawkeye about a series of incidents of a badly unthinking former student . . . a student who was a student during one or more of what appear to be a series of rapes, one of which took place on school property in 2016.
If we put sexual assault into the search box, we find that around the time of the first stories about the rape activity, a student reporter also wrote a story on the topic of sexual assault awareness and prevention or reduction.
At the time that I read the stories on the topic of rape and sexual assault as they relate to Mountlake Terrace high school, I was a bit miffed.
One school counselour was interviewed for a story and said that one way to reduce “sexual assaults” was for the girls/young women to have and communicate boundaries.
The principal, a fellow apparently with the name of Greg Schwab, said that he and the staff had been thinking hard about how to reduce or prevent rapes on school property. To be more precise, he said that they were seriously examining the question. In a different article, he is quoted as coming up with the probably reasonable idea that the school can reduce rapes on school property by having a staff person be on school property until 4:30 p.m. or so, when some various after-school activities are finishing.
Now, I am not an expert in school staffing, but it seems vaguely to me that a significant number of “after school activities” on school property do in fact already have a teacher or school administration or teacher or responsible adult advisor or helper with the people of the activity. Maybe I am wrong.
Football, cheerleading, debate, track, tennis . . . I think these things often have a faculty advisor. Maybe my memory is awfully foggy . . . Of course, there could be after school clubs and who knows if each and every club has a faculty helper . . .
If there were a chess club or a photography club, would that club have an adult advisor? I don’t really know. But a lot of after-school activities do already have a faculty advisor on property, past 3 p.m.
The complete extent of Greg Schwab’s proposals–at least as we know them from the Hawkeye newspaper articles–to reduce or prevent rapes of girls on campus or off of campus was to have a staff person be around till 4:30 p.m. somewhere. It is an idea that might be helpful and also one which MTHS and other schools might well already be doing.
The helpful advice of Julie Schwab, school psychologist and counselour, to reduce or prevent rapes of young women students, is that the young women should consider having boundaries and communicating those boundaries.
Now ordinarily my blood does not boil very often.
However, after reading the article about preventing sexual assault and the other articles of the reports of the rapes, my ordinarily calm 120/80 bp was kicked up a few points.
Now, in all fairness, after the first major reported rape of a student on school property at MTHS, the school administration–or principal Schwab–did send out a letter to students and parents . . . This unknown letter does not seem to be online anywhere. Perhaps Greg Schwab has some helpful ideas about preventing and reducing rape which are found in his semi-secret letter and which did not seem to be newsworthy to student reporters to get put into the news articles published by the students of the student newspaper. Maybe the good rape awareness and prevention material is in this letter that was sent out.
In any case, I was not in possession of the secret letter with the good ideas on how to prevent rapes and I instead only had access to the news articles with the ideas of 1) school-age-young-women should have and communicate boundaries; and 2) a school staff person should be around till 4:30 on days of after-school activities.
(About the boundaries . . . it seems like most fourth graders have it figured out that we or you or they do not touch the body parts of another person other than the hand or shoulder absent being good friends or other circumstances. But I can see how it might be needed for some young women to have some extra special other boundaries for some situations.)
In any case, I was miffed about the published suggestions that I had read, offered in response and reaction to reported rape on school property.
I ended up pondering things and doing a bit of research.
And it turns out that some researchers up in Canada did a study on a program called EAAA, which is basically rape awareness, avoidance, deterrence, prevention, with about 2 hours of the simplest of martial arts hands on practice.
You know, or perhaps you do not know, women may practice escapes from or responses to wrist graps, elbow grabs, bear hugs and chokeholds. And they may practice some kicks or open palm hitting.
And the researchers up in Canada found that the women who took EAAA’s classes, lasting about 12 hours, had their rate of rape cut by 50% and the rate of attempted rape upon them cut by 2/3, compared to a control group, after we check their statistics over the next 12 months.
So, a program such as EAAA, though it need not be identical to it, is likely to substantially reduce the number of rapes, if any, of young women between the ages of 15 and 25, I believe.
Now over at the Lake Washington school district I hope and pray that the parents and students are all rich and well-adjusted and that no male student or teacher is so lacking in meaning in life as to go dramatically overboard in his seduction of students. But sometimes persons who have the money to live lack meaning and guidance in life.
On the off-chance that there was a deranged person in the vicinity of a kid, or in the vicinity of a young adult woman, on school property or going to or from school or the grocery store, it may be helpful to warn the kids of the possibility of danger, to encourage some of them to have and wear pepper spray and learn and take other similar self-protective actions.
I see from your website that you folks do inform the kids and parents of the kids having the ability to carry pepper spray, although the information is found over in the section re weapons and not in the page or pages on school safety–speaking of LW school district as a whole.
Thanks to administration or someone for a least taking that one basic step in a good direction of personal and student awareness and education.
I have not been to your school or schools; I do not have friends who are recent graduates. I do not know what instruction you folks give to prevent rape. The Seattle schools were in the news reports a few weeks ago after a rape situation came to light in which a guy invited a young woman to the co-ed bathroom . . . in Ballard.
We would like to hope and assume that people of the Lake Washington school district area do not think so little as to invite basic girl acquaintances to visit the co-ed bathroom together . . . Apparently it happens in Seattle and it seems that someone had neglected to warn the young lady that entering a room with only one exit that may be blocked or locked with another person can be dangerous.
I have not thought much of whether or not I should visit you and you obviously already do at times consult with the local law enforcement who have helped you with active shooter awareness and training.
Till the next. The God of peace be with you!