Men's rights group slams Calif. city's free self-defense classes for girls as discriminatory

A men’s rights group is accusing a California city of violating civil rights laws because the city is offering free self-defense classes that are only open to women and girls.

The Glendale News-Press reported Thursday that Harry M. Crouch, the president of the National Coalition of Men, sent a letter to the city of Glendale, the city’s Commission on the Status of Women and the company leading the classes demanding men and boys be allowed to attend the classes as well.

Crouch writes that by offering the classes to only women the parties involved are violating the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

“It is especially troubling that the City, its Commission on the Status of Women, and Shield Self Defense would deny men and boys access to their self-defense classes in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” Crouch said. “Why the City, its Commission on the Status of Women, and Shield Self Defense do not want men and boys to be just as prepared as women and girls to defend themselves against sexual assault is outrageous.”

The Glendale News-Press reports that the Commission on the Status of Women has been holding the classes for years on city property in April to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The classes are paid for through fundraising.

Crouch told the paper this is the first year his organization has complained because it just became aware of the classes.

"It always astounds me that some of our governmental agencies who are charged with protecting us from violations of law simply acquiesce to things like this," he said.

City officials told the paper they are in the process of researching the matter, and that federal law could possibly permit women’s only self-defense classes. The officials said they are now investigating state law on the issue, and may consider reviewing the class structure if necessary.

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