Lafayette school board hears request for self-defense classes

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The Lafayette Township School Board of Education on June 10 heard a request for 30 more self-defense sessions for educators at a cost of $10,000 to the district.

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., the school's faculty and staff have expressed interest in obtaining more training to better prepare them for such a situation. During the 2013-14 school year, the school board had approved 30 sessions of self-defense classes.

The program is run by Eric Basek through his company Blue Titan Fitness, which is located in Rockaway. Basek has years of experience as a police officer, SWAT team member, and firearms, active shooter, and defensive tactics instructor. Using the techniques of Krav Maga, faculty and staff members are able to develop strong skills quickly, both physically and mentally, for the possibility of a gunman in the classroom.

"It is a life-changing experience," art teacher Karen Johnson said. "I had some doubt that I could do this, I am older, a smaller height, never had a fight, and not terribly fit. Eric used a lot of techniques physically and mentally that worked for us as teachers. We need your help, we need to continue our sessions, and to continue to keep the children safer. If I am going to die, I might as well do it while trying."

Although the program fills quickly, the budget has been set for the 2014-15 school year at Lafayette and funds would need to be moved around before a motion can be made by the board. In order to do so, Board Secretary Anne Hessler would need to speak with the auditor to discuss a purchase order for next school year.

“There seems to be a lot of interest amongst board members," Lafayette Chief School Administrator Dave Astor said. "We are looking into finding line items that we can allocate the funds for the program and I believe that we will be able to find those funds.

The topic will be discussed further at the July 1 board meeting.

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