Girl’s Only Fire Camp Cancelled

A firefighting camp for girls sponsored by the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation that was scheduled to be held March 3-4 has been cancelled after a civil rights attorney complained that it discriminated against boys.

The event, the Second Annual Girls Empowerment Camp, was intended introduce girls ages 14 to 18 to career opportunities in the fire and emergency services. The camp provided attendees with the chance to use firefighting equipment, climb ladders, rappel, and learn CPR.

On February 22, 2018, attorney Alfred G. Rava wrote to city officials objecting to the girls-only format on behalf of a client. According to Rava, the event violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, besides federal discrimination law. He cited a number of examples of gender-specific events having been found to be discriminatory, such as “Ladies’ Nights” and “female only poker tournaments.”

The following day, City Attorney Mara Elliott responded to Rava stating: “Our office is in receipt of your February 22, 2018, letter. The event has been cancelled.” According to the Times of San Diego, Rava has a history of advocating on behalf of men’s rights.

Here is a copy of Rava’s letter: Elliott-letter

Here is Elliott’s response: Rava-letter

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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