Belgium has been rocked by some shocking videos of gangs teaming up and beating up lone, young victims. In response, the Vlaams Belang party proposes to teach self-defence in school gym classes.
Vlaams Belang MP Roosmarijn Beckers suggested the move after seeing the videos of teens being beaten up and said in her own hometown a 13-year-old was abused recently.
“To make teenagers more resilient, self-defence skills need to be explicitly addressed in physical education classes,” she told Brussels Signal.
“Bullies often pick on children that seem less strong. With the knowledge of targeted self-defence techniques, that student could more easily extricate themselves from such a situation,” she said.
“If a teenager has mastered certain defence and liberation techniques, they will also be mentally stronger in a threatening situation.”
Within an initial set of new curriculum guidelines for the second year of secondary education, specific educational goals addressing both physical and mental resilience when confronted with situations involving potential altercations were included.
But the courts invalidated the legislation and the subsequent set of minimum objectives did not incorporate those particular goals.
“It’s not because it’s not part of the final terms that it can’t be addressed in our education,” Beckers said. According to her, educational organisations and school administrations should take the initiative to integrate self defence into their own curricula and school practices.
“We observe that both perpetrators and victims in those bullying videos are becoming increasingly younger. Sensitising and instructing students in a timely manner to handle aggressive situations effectively, both preventively and correctively, is the message.”
Vlaams Belang is traditionally a law-and-order party and the bullying videos were shared by its leader Tom Van Grieken. Since then, he has been shadowbanned on X, the former Twitter, and he does not appear in its search results any more.
According to Van Grieken, his censorship seems to have been brought about by left-wing activists’ mass-reporting his account on the platform. “This is just a new way to silence political opponents,” he said. “The ‘tolerant’ Left is once again showing its true nature.”
At the time of writing, Brussels Signal was also unable to access tweets made by Van Grieken with attempts to get an embed link for such posts being met with a “not found” from X.