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Education Celebrations: Radkids empowers students to protect themselves

By By Diane Boyett
June 15, 2014 at 1:15 a.m.


When the school bells ring Aug. 25 to start a new school year, Victoria school district will join only eight other school districts in Texas to offer a program that seeks to empower students to protect themselves and others.

The nationally recognized Radkids training is based on three rules, according to founder and Executive Director Steve Daley.

Children are taught that no one has the right to hurt them, and children do not have the right to hurt anyone else. A key component in the first two rules is that children have the right to stop someone who is hurting them. The third rule is that it is not the child's fault if someone tries to harm them.

The curriculum will be taught in all VISD elementary schools by counselors and physical education teachers. The team gave up their first week of summer break for a 40-hour training session last week.

In introducing the teachers and counselors to the program, Daley explained Radkids is actually a program that aims to build life skills. He pointed out that the curriculum does not teach self-defense.

Rather, he refers to it as "physical resistance to violence." Knowing how to resist aggression defensively can apply to abduction, bullying, abuse and assault.

"We cannot and should not teach our children to fight, but we can take away their fear by providing realistic options and skills to escape harm in their daily lives," said Susanne Carroll, executive director of curriculum, instruction and accountability. "Together, we can empower our children by teaching them how to recognize, avoid and escape dangerous situations."

All students in kindergarten through grade five will be offered guidance in bullying prevention, recognizing predator behaviors, safety on the Internet and safety at school and away from school. The program also features a parental information component that helps to reinforce the lessons from school in the home environment as well.

"VISD is committed to the safety and security of every child in our schools every day. We want our children to feel that school is a place where they are safe, but we also want every child to grow up in a community where they feel loved and nurtured," Carroll said. "Our goal is that bringing this program into our schools as a part of the instruction will provide a tool to help students, the school and families work together to make Victoria the best place to be a kid."Much of the program costs are being underwritten by the DeTar Healthcare System, said Judith Barefield, director of marketing.

"The DeTar Healthcare System consistently focuses on patient safety, and now we are also proud to extend this focus to the safety of our children by supporting the Victoria Independent School District in the decision to implement a change in the culture of our community," she said. "We hope each child in the program not only benefits from the immediate changes but also carries these values throughout his or her life. Our children are our most precious resource, and DeTar is pleased to join VISD in empowering them with the tools they need to stay safe."

We celebrate the dedicated professionals who will teach Radkids and DeTar, which is a great community partner in underwriting this valuable program.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Contact her at diane.boyett@visd.net.

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