By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder on Friday said it was “disheartening and astounding” to learn of new federal mandate linking school lunch dollars to gender identity policies.
“I wish to denounce in the strongest terms possible, the Biden Administration’s recent reinterpretation of the USDA’s Title IX funding,” Schroeder said in a statement.
All state and local organizations and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs funded by the department’s Food and Nutrition Service must update non-discrimination statements to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections, according to a May 5 USDA announcement.
The state’s education department has received about $90 million annually in Food and Nutrition Service grants in the past two fiscal years.
Under some federal court precedents, binary bathroom and locker room requirements in schools have been deemed gender identity discrimination.
Title IX is an addition to federal education amendments guaranteeing civil rights protections based on qualifiers such as race, religion, sex and age.
The Wyoming Department of Education’s non-discrimination statement aligns with traditional Title IX readings but doesn’t include provisions for gender identity and sexual orientation.
“Though unsurprising, it is nonetheless both disheartening and astounding that our federal government could become so cynical as to tie the school lunches of little kids to its ever-relentless agenda of social engineering,” Schroeder said.
The superintendent rebuked the federalization of school policies to include gender ideology-based changes as symptoms of “arrogance and disrespect.”
“This is not about discrimination, it is about control and manipulation, it is about forcing post-modernist thinking on people who refuse to embrace the same, and it is about imposing a value system on the majority of Wyomingites whose faith or common sense inform them differently,” said Schroeder.
“It is, on its face, an egregious, albeit subtle, form of discrimination in its own right,” he said, adding that he hoped Wyoming would “stand up” to the announced mandate.
Sex Discrimination Complaints
A USDA spokesman on Friday reiterated the requirement for all state and local agencies funded by the Food and Nutrition Services to update their non-discrimination policies with the two new descriptors.
But the spokesmen then indicated that a much narrower purpose is intended than the language suggests.
“The change gives recourse for LGBTQI+ Americans who experience discrimination by or within a Food and Nutrition Services Program. If discrimination does occur, that person can now file a complaint of sex discrimination – nothing more,” the spokesman said in an email to Cowboy State Daily.