COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – What started as a high school project for three young women could soon be state law across Ohio.
On Monday morning, two Ohio state representatives introduced House Bill 639, which sponsors are calling the Student Protection Act.
The legislation would make a self-defense class mandatory for graduating high school students.
The act was inspired by three recent graduates of Olentangy High School who started the Empowerment Project, teaching their classmates those same self-defense skills with help from their school’s resource officer.
The young women said learning how to defend themselves has helped them feel calmer and more collected in their everyday lives.
“In this day and age, there is so much pressure on our young people, on our college-age students, and it is so important to reinforce a cultural norm that non-consensual advances, use of force, and physical or emotional abuse and assault are never OK,” said Rep. Andrea White (R-Kettering), one of the bill’s sponsors.
The bill has been assigned to the House’s health committee. If signed into law, the requirement would go into effect for students entering high school in the fall of 2023.