As president of the Handle With Care Behavior Management System Inc. and HWCPlus, I must respond to Tom Jackman's Oct. 14 Metro article, "Juvenile Justice Chief Won't Bar Violent Tactics."
Handle With Care is the verbal deescalation, personal defense and passive restraint system taught and used every day in juvenile detention and correction facilities. HWCPlus trains law enforcement and corrections officers in defensive tactics for worst-case scenarios.
The "whip kick" and "shin rake" are not used "to handle youths who need to be restrained," as your article stated. These techniques are for use only in high-threat, self-defense situations, where the life and safety of an officer or another juvenile is threatened. These techniques have nothing to do with physical restraining or subduing anybody or dealing with disruptive behavior.
Mark Soler, president of the Youth Law Center in Washington, is quoted in the article as stating that a survey showed that "not a single state had anything close to this." But the survey he cites showed three other states using striking techniques, two using hitting techniques, eight using chemical restraints, 10 using pain compliance techniques and many more using defensive-tactic programs.
The argument against HWCPlus demonstrates a disregard for the self-defense laws in the state of Virginia. Has anybody bothered to ask the average person if he would work in one of these facilities without knowing first how to defend himself? Perhaps Soler would like to volunteer for such a job before pontificating further. I predict the first thing he will learn is that a 19-year-old offender is not a child and that this is a self-defense issue that has nothing to do with child abuse.
I am proud of Virginia Juvenile Justice Director Gerald O. Glenn for having the courage to step up on behalf of the line officers in juvenile corrections facilities when his own board could not.