Teen to host self-defense class this weekend

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(Illustration provided by Metro Creative Connection)

Story by Jennifer Middleton

Personal safety is important, and on Saturday, residents of the Bossier area will have the opportunity to learn a little bit about how to protect themselves.

Kaleigh Newman, a senior at Parkway High School, decided to host a self-defense class for her senior project. The self-defense class will take place on Saturday, April 5 at the Bellaire Baptist Church fitness center, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Newman said she chose a self defense class for her project because she was raised to be independent, and that mindset has driven her to support anything that empowers women.

“Why should a woman have to rely on someone to protect [her]?” Newman said. “As women, we should be taught how to protect ourselves, and that is what I’m hoping to accomplish with my project.”

When she first had the idea, Newman contacted the Bossier Sheriff’s office to get the ball rolling. They host self-defense courses regularly, so she knew they would be a good starting point.

“They said that they would be more than happy to help me,” she said. “I then contacted Jeff Harper of Bellaire Baptist Church and asked if I could use one of the studios in the fitness center for my event.”

Newman said it is important to know basic self-defense because it is impossible for people to predict what kind of situations they might find themselves in.

“This class gives a woman a chance to fight for herself,” she said. “We live in a crazy world, and you can never be too careful. Basic self defense knowledge is a good tool to have in your belt.”

The response to Newman’s project has been positive so far, with several people expressing interest in the class.

“I have had a lot of women show interest in this class,” she said. “I have had several people tell me that they are excited to participate. I have also talked to mothers that said they want their daughters to take the class because they just started driving and are now going places alone.”

Newman is hoping for a good turnout, and would consider hosting follow-up classes if the first one is a success.

“If we have a good turnout, and the Bossier Sheriff’s Office would like to do more classes,” Newman said, “I would be more than happy to organize them and bring them to my community.”