Schroeder: Wyo To Comply With Fed Gender Mandate Until State Funds School Lunches

in News/Education

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

After condemning a federal action linking school lunch funds to gender-ideology accommodations, Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder on Wednesday said Wyoming may need to comply until the Wyoming Legislature supplements the federal funds.

Schroeder “strongly objects to this latest example of federal overreach – and will continue to lead Wyoming’s effort to push back against Washington D.C.,” the Wyoming Department of Education said in a statement Wednesday.

The U.S Department of Agriculture on May 5 mandated that all local and state agencies funded by its sub-department, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), must update non-discrimination statements to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision comes in the wake of court rulings categorizing binary bathroom requirements as discrimination.

Although local school districts can opt out of FNS funds, Wyoming’s education system as a whole might need to comply with the new mandate, Schroeder said, adding that it would do so with caution.

“While the Superintendent vigorously pursues political and legal options to oppose federal overreach, the (department) will work to maintain the flow of federal funds to support children in Wyoming,” the statement said. 

“Until the Wyoming Legislature takes substantive action to allocate state funds to cover the numerous federally-funded programs in Wyoming, the (department) has little choice but to work within the framework mandated by politicians in Washington D.C.,” it said.

The state’s education department has received about $90 million annually in FNS funds in the past two fiscal years.

The next session of the Wyoming Legislature is slated for January 2023.

The state department of education said “many people in Wyoming will disagree” with the USDA’s philosophy and political behavior. 

 It encouraged citizens “to respectfully engage legislators and other elected officials as they see appropriate.”

In a June 3 statement, Schroeder called the mandate “morally repugnant,” and “another breathtaking display of political ideology run amok.”

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