Wake County mom calls 'Charm School' program for girls sexist

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A Wake County mom says the Raleigh Police Department youth program is sexist (WTVD)

A Wake County mom is calling a Raleigh Police Department youth program sexist.

Ami Claxton of Cary came across an interest form for RPD's 2017 Youth Programs on social media. She was stunned to see a leadership program was offered to young boys while the young girls were given the option to attend Charm School.

"To tell girls in Raleigh that really their most valuable contribution is via Charm School which covers such things as hygiene, while boys were offered character development and leadership skills was just really galling to me," said Claxton.

The free programs are part of the police department's Youth and Family Services Unit. There are several programs to choose from; all of them are aimed at developing character and instilling core values in the city's youth, including at-risk youth.


Most of the programs are open to both boys and girls including a Junior Police Academy.

But it's when Claxton saw the website promoting field trips to the Raleigh Police Memorial and Airborne & Special Operations Museum for the boys; a trip to the hair salon and formal banquet for the girls that the epidemiologist took to social media urging parents in Raleigh to be just as outraged as she is.

"Even though it's restricted simply to the City of Raleigh, I believe that it sends a bigger message to the entire area if not the state about how we're investing governmental resources into programs that are clearly sexist."

Laura Hourigan, police department spokesperson said the two programs consist of similar activities, including a math and science component for the girls.

Every year, the girls involved in RPD's Charm School are sent to a two-day Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) camp at IBM.

However, Claxton said the girls should be allowed to participate in the Leaders of Tomorrow program. If her family lived in Raleigh, she said she would want her own teenage son to be a part of it.

"However, the absence of his friends who are female to take that class with him is quite egregious," said Claxton. "And while I think my son is fairly well behaved he could probably benefit from Charm School as well."

Hourigan said Charm School I, offered to girls 12-14 years old, began in 2009. Charm School II for 15-17-year-old girls was implemented in 2010.

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