After eight incidents in which strangers approached Newton children, Newton schools, businesses and law enforcement are partnering to offer a free self-defense clinic for children and their parents.


After eight incidents in which strangers approached Newton children, Newton schools, businesses and law enforcement are partnering to offer a free self-defense clinic for children and their parents.

Chris Rangel, along with his daughter Jenna, will present a Girl2Girl self- defense clinic from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Willis Gym at Newton High School. Participants will be given free Girl2Girl DVDs.

The program was designed for women and girls by the Rangels, but the clinic will be open to all children kindergarten through 12th grade and their parents.

Chris Rangel said the Girl2Girl program is a comprehensive self-defense course that teaches students to use their heads to avoid dangerous situations and then practical skills to defend themselves and escape if they are threatened.

“We will teach them to scan their surroundings and be aware of their environment,” Chris Rangel said. “If they feel threatened or are cornered, they will be taught how to fire fast and furious to escape and tell authorities,” he said.

Rangel, whose daughter Jenna is a sophomore at Newton High School, said he wanted other children to learn how to use their heads to keep safe.

“Our program is based on risk reduction,” he said. “We want kids to be alert, not to use cell phones, have their keys out if they are high schools students, don’t wear backpacks that are too tight so they can get away and know what to do if they are going or coming to school.”

Jenna is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a certified safety instructor in her own right and previously taught the same clinic to a group of about 400 people in Arkansas City following the abduction and murder of college student Jodi Sanderholm.

Jenna may have experience in martial arts, but Chris Rangel insists anyone of any age and physical ability can use posture and voice to create enough shock value to give them seconds needed to get away from an attacker.

Law enforcement officers in safety suits will be at the clinic to allow the children to practice their new skills.

Law enforcement officers and the Rangels also will form a panel to answer question after the hands-on portion of the clinic.

Chris Rangel urged parents to attend the class with their children.

“We want the whole family — everyone — to be invested in the safety concepts so they can be replicated. We want everyone on the same page,” Rangel said.

Rangel said this clinic is a way for the community to show care about kids’ safety.

“We want these people to know that the eyes of Newton are watching them, the schools are watching them, business is watching them,” he said. “We need to help each other out to keep our children safe. We have not had a catastrophe yet, but we have been lucky.”

For more information on the clinic or to become a sponsor of the event, contact Chris Rangel at (316)727-9117. For more information on the Girl2Girl program, see the Rangels’ Web site at girldefense.com.

Newton schools have been working closely with the Newton Police Department to investigate the incidents involving strangers.

School resource officers and school staff have discussed stranger danger with children, and patrols have been increased around schools.

“We hope this clinic will help people feel more secure,” Newton superintendent John Morton said. “We are very appreciative of Chris (Rangel) making that possible.”

Lt. Eric Murphy of the Newton Police Department said no arrests have been made related to any of the incidents.

Murphy said the descriptions of the subject all seem to be different, and the cases unrelated.

He said he did not know why there has been a cluster of the cases in the last few months.

He said people may be more aware of the issue and making more reports.

It is still important to report these incidents, especially if a stranger tries to force the child into a vehicle, he said.