San Diego Cancels Girl-Only ‘Empowerment’ Camp

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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A California city canceled a girls empowerment camp after a discrimination complaint from a local attorney, according to a Sunday report.

San Diego’s fire and rescue foundation cancelled the camp after receiving a letter from attorney Alfred Rava, in which Rava suggested the camp violated California discrimination law, reported Fox 5. Rava’s client, Rich Allison, was interested in enrolling his son in the camp to learn life-saving techniques, but the attorney insists the city stonewalled Allison because of his son’s sex.

“Both boys and girls should be taught how to save lives and be empowered to know they can be whatever they want to be, and it is morally and legally wrong to teach and empower only girls or only boys,” Rava wrote to the city, the fire rescue foundation, and fire rescue department.

Rava told the parties that the camp violated equal protection clauses in the U.S. and California constitutions, as well as a section of the California civil code, in a letter he sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“San Diego boys, as well as San Diego girls, should know the important steps to respond to and to revive a grandfather or grandmother in cardiac distress,” said the lawyer. He encouraged the city to reschedule the March 3 and 4 event for later in 2018 and invite both sexes.

“Our office is in receipt of your February 22, 2018 letter,” San Diego city attorney Mara W. Elliott replied to Rava on Friday, according to correspondence obtained by TheDCNF. “The event has been cancelled.”

The city’s fire and rescue foundation denied to Fox 5 that it excluded children from participating in the event based on their sex. (RELATED: Stanford Takes Down Page Advertising Women-Only Gym Hours)

“I don’t think I’d want my daughter to attend fire camp with boys that are 14 to 18-years-old,” said Patricia Mondragon, the mother of a teenage girl planning to attend the workshop. “I think I would want a separate camp for boys and girls if they’re going to be in that kind of environment where they are being physical and they’re breaking down doors.”

“I think that they should just find another camp,” said her daughter Alex. “It’s not like there aren’t any all-boys camps. Girls didn’t have this opportunity 50 years ago.”

TheDCNF spoke with a representative from the San Diego city attorney’s office regarding the decision to cancel the event.

“On Friday, our office informed the Foundation that City resources could not be used for this event due to its gender-specific nature,” Cheryl A. Nolan, Esq., the office’s assistant for community outreach, told TheDCNF. “Our Office made no recommendation as to the Foundation’s plans for their event. The Foundation then informed our Office that, given the City’s position, the event would not go forward at this time. Subsequently the City Attorney’s Office informed Mr. Rava of such.”

The city attorney’s office does not advise San Diego’s nonprofit fire rescue foundation, which is not part of the city government, Nolan clarified.

This post has been updated with comment from the San Diego city attorney’s office.

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