PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Putting a stop to school bullying. A Philadelphia city councilmember is behind a new program aimed at helping children feel safer.
"This is the first day that we're doing a free anti-bullying self-defense class for students who have been bullied and harassed in school," Councilmember David Oh said.
Oh was moved to start this program following an encounter with a 13-year-old girl who had been bullied and assaulted in school.
"It really started with a 13-year-old girl who was beaten in her classroom, video went viral. I actually met with her mother and her and they raised the idea, among other things, that they would like to do a little self-defense," he said.
So, MaST Charter school let Oh and the group use its gym. The councilmember also asked for and got a ton of professional volunteers with a range of self-defense backgrounds to teach the kids, from ages 5 to 15, separated into three age groups.
"I'm here today to volunteer with David Oh and his team to teach the children of Philadelphia basic self-defense techniques and how to de-escalate a situation," former professional MMA fighter Sam Oropeza said. "The highest form of confrontation is a physical confrontation so if you feel confident that you can protect yourself, it does so much for your self-confidence."
And no surprise, the kids had a blast while learning.
"Because if you're in the street and someone attack you, you can defend yourself," student Sarah Carvalho said.
"Today I learned a lot of things but especially I learned that a move like this is learned for a lot of things. I had very fun and I met a lot of new people and I made a lot of friends so it's very cool," student Maria Klara Lemos said.
There will be 10, hour-long classes running through July 22. And if day one is any indication, the kids will gain a strong foundation for protecting themselves, while making some new friends and, of course, having some fun in the process.
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