Teen girls play it ‘SAFE’ by learning self-defense

They started with wrist grabs and ended the day learning how to kick and punch an attacker.

Senior girls at Columbus East High School left school on March 7 feeling more prepared to defend themselves after completing a day-long self-defense training course.

The Situational Awareness for Everyday (SAFE) course is a one-day safety and awareness class designed for high school senior girls preparing to go to college or be on their own. It’s taught by officers from the Columbus Police Department and troopers from the Indiana State Police.

“In this school they get math, they get English and they get all the core things, but something we had been missing up to that point is teaching these young ladies to defend themselves,” said Julie Quesenbery, a CPD sergeant and a school resource officer at East.

“And not just that, but how to keep themselves safe and really those things about avoidance in awareness — being aware and avoiding bad situations if you can,” Quesenbery said.

About 100 girls from Columbus East, Columbus Christian School, Hauser High School and Greensburg High School attended the first SAFE course of the year. A second class will be at Columbus North High School for senior girls on March 29.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.