Program trains kids how to resist abduction, molestation

A national children's safety education program has started classes in Tucson.

The program is called R.A.D. Kids. Its purpose is personal empowerment safety education for children ages 5 to 12.

As part of the class, a man dressed in thick padding approaches a child and asks, "Hi, can you help me find my puppy?" and the child shouts at him, "stay back. You're not my dad."

When the man grabs the child, the child starts hitting him on the head and shouting "No, no, no, no."

R.A,D. Instructor Tina Tarin says, "R.A.D. Kids stands for Resisting Aggression Defensively."

Her students demonstrate that means with yelling, punching and kicking, whatever it takes to get away.

Tarin tells a student, "Get in your stance and tell him no. Look him right in the face and tell him no and, when he comes to grab you again, you get those peppers up. No, no, no. No."

Peppering involves poking the abductor in the face.

Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Nicole Reldt says, "In law enforcement we always tell people they need to have a plan. You need to play the what-if game with yourself."

Feldt says that adults are taught to do it, but, she emphasizes, kids are vulnerable too.

Feldt says, "What if someone came up to them and grabbed their arm? They need to know and they need to learn what they're going to do to handle that situation."

Student Andrea Kirkland, who is 11 years old, says, "I did a head butt to the back and I did heel kicking."

R.A.D. is a 10-hour class that covers topics including defense against abduction, good and bad touch and personal power.

Student Casey Haag, 11, says she learned.

"i'm strong. No one can hurt me. No one has the right to hurt me," she said.

Instructors say some parents are reluctant to enroll their kids for fear that R.A.D. training will make their kids aggressive.

Instead, instructors believe it makes children defensive, now, and for the rest of their lives.

R.A.D. Kids is a national nonprofit program. Certified instructors recently started offering classes throughout Tucson.

The class costs $40, but there are scholarships available for children who can't afford to pay.

For more information, you can call instructor Tina Tarin at (520) 954-9576.


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