By Ivan Raconteur
HOWARD LAKE, MN It started with a request from some girls who were planning to go off to college soon.
Howard Lake Police Chief Dave Thompson said the girls were interested in getting some self-defense training before they left for college, and one of the girls talked to staff at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School about the idea.
The school approached Howard Lake Police Officer Darek Szczepanik, the school resource officer for HLWW, and he said this was definitely something the Howard Lake Police Department could do.
A class was scheduled, and a number of students signed up.
Thompson said it was open to anyone, not just seniors. He noted he the department was happy with the number of students who participated.
Szczepanik taught the basic self-defense class, which took place in the HLWW wrestling room.
Thompson said the class was well-received, and if there is interest, the department would be willing to offer this kind of training again in the future.
Thompson said there is a lot of value to having a school resource officer like Szczepanik working in the school on a regular basis.
He said Szczepanik can be responsive to the needs of the students and the school, and has presented information on other subjects in the past based on student or staff requests, such as internet safety.
Thompson said people often identify Szczepanik with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, but he does many other things with the students, as well.