Lawsuit claims leadership program at Cherry Hill elementary school doesn't allow girls

The Cherry Hill School District has been slapped with a lawsuit, which claims a leadership program at one of its elementary schools doesn't allow girls.

FOX 29's Alex George has the latest details.

Clara Barton Elementary school has a program for their students called W.A.T.C.H., which stands for words, actions, thoughts, character and heart. Mike Morris's son went through it

"It's a great program. It's all about being a better person," Morris explained.

The program is now the subject of a lawsuit against the Cherry Hill School District.

 "It was only offered for boys in the fifth grade and the girls were not invited to participate," lawyer Kevin Costello said.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two former students. The complaint filed with the Superior Court of Camden County says that the boys' program was created in 2013 or 2014 and there was not an option for girls.

"I have no problem with training these young men but we should be training young ladies the same way," Costello said.

The lawyer representing the plaintiff says a girls' option wasn't created until later.

"The Girls Incorporated program, or Girls Inc., began the fall 2018 after we got in touch with the district. We don't know that it was done in response," Costello said.

The complaint filed alleges that these two programs W.A.T.C.H. and the newer girl's program called Girls Inc. are not equal.

"We are arguing that there are substantive differences between the ways that the programs are given," Costello said.

He also says as long as the programs are separate they need to be equal under the law.

"If we learn that the programs truly are equal then we are good," Costello said.

Parents say there should be equality.

"If it is indeed that they are different, I would be surprised what I know of this school and this administration," Morris said.

The Cherry Hill School District released the following statement:


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