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Women's defense class postponed once again

City attorney continues to review legality of gender-exclusive classes.

April 15, 2014|By Brittany Levine,
  • For years, Glendale's Commission on the Status of Women has hosted self-defense classes in April on city property for women and girls in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but this year, the National Coalition of Men has written to the city requesting males be permitted to attend the class, too. Pictured in last year's class are Alexandra Melkonians, 12, from left, Candice LeFranc, 11, Cassandra Pruett, Candice's mother, Ligia, Maritza Gonzalez, 12, and Dariana Peraza, 13, at the Adult Recreation Center in Glendale.
For years, Glendale's Commission on the Status… (File Photo )

For the second week in a row, city officials have postponed a free self-defense class for women as the city attorney continues to review the legality of the gender-exclusive classes.

The city and its Commission on the Status of Women host the popular classes annually in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but a letter sent by the National Coalition for Men questioning the classes’ legality because they exclude men and boys prompted officials to put them on hold.

The coalition, which was founded in 1977, claimed in its March 13 letter that barring men from the free self-defense training on public property violates equal-protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions.

This week’s lesson was scheduled for Wednesday at the Glendale Police Department. The first in the two-part series of classes was supposed to take place on April 9 at Glendale Community College.

According to a city report about the suspended classes, both were at capacity with 80 women and girls enrolled. About 65 were on the waiting list.


The Commission on the Status of Women received the city report during its meeting on Monday at City Hall, but commission members didn’t share their thoughts on the legal challenge because the city attorney’s office requested they refrain from doing so until the issue is reviewed at a City Council meeting on April 29.

In general, city commissioners do comment on items on their boards’ agendas and make recommendations to the council.

The classes are paid for by commission fundraising.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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