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Parents question clubs teaching boys to be leaders and girls to be polite


Julianne Speyer, we need your example in Georgia. 

The 12-year-old Ohio girl drew national applause a few weeks ago when she wrote a newspaper letter calling out announcers at a July 4th parade who praised the Boy Scouts for marching as future leaders, while saying the Girl Scouts were there just to have fun.

Parents at a Coweta County elementary school contend similarly sexist language describes two clubs offered at their local school. Welch Elementary School parents says students could get the wrong message from a club for boys that teaches them to be leaders and one for girls that teaches them to be polite.

Men’s Mindset is described in a school newsletter as a club for boys that seeks to “build successful leaders by promoting confidence, building self-esteem and teaching life skills for success in the classroom and the community.”

The intent of the Girl Power club is to “promote etiquette using kindness, courtesy and respect in every part of daily life, to promote confidence through the use of practicing good manners, to build self esteem to feel comfortable in social situations.”

Coweta parents discussed the club in message boards, and a few reached out to the principal.

 “Welch Elementary School’s principal was contacted by three parents this week who discussed the descriptions of the Men’s Mindset and Girl Power Club with her,” said Coweta County School System spokesman Dean Jackson. “Both of these clubs teach leadership skills, self-esteem building and life skills, and are designed to promote successful student leaders. The principal said she will take into consideration changing the descriptions in the school’s club flyer to better reflect that.” 

Jackson also provided background.

“These clubs were developed three years ago. They are voluntary after-school clubs, among several clubs at the school. They both have the same broad mission of developing leadership, social skills and confidence in boys and girls,” he said. “The students in them, from their first year of development, had input into what they needed from the clubs to help make them successful, and still do. The members of the Girl Power Club, for example, chose the name of that club themselves.”

 I will let Julianne Speyer have the last word, quoting from her letter to the editor explaining why we need to scrub sexist language.

I would appreciate it if you would help me to let other people know how much this kind of thing happens and how bad it is. I feel it is an insult to both girls and women of all ages. This kind of thing happens way too much and it is not OK at all.


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.