In the intention to hold ‘school districts hostage,’ the Biden administration is using lunch money, the head of a conservative advocacy group said in response to the Department of Agriculture’s announcement that it would require certain schools to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their preferred gender.
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The department announced in May that schools awarded money from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency within USDA, must specify in their policies that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is prohibited. Allegations of such discrimination must be investigated, the department also said.
“What you’re seeing here is really the Biden administration saying ‘you’re going to do what I want or I’m going to take your lunch money.’ For the federal government to come in and really tie school nutrition and school lunch programs to this radical ideology is terrifying, and it’s appalling,” Ian Prior, the Fight for Schools Executive Director said.
Including WIC and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), FNS administers several nutrition-related programs. It also runs the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or low-cost lunches for children and on average fed nearly 30 million kids per day prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, per report.
Prior said that the announcement “essentially amounts to the Biden administration holding states and local school districts hostage with school lunch money that goes to underprivileged youth in order to pass transgender non-discrimination policies.”
This announcement is part of President Biden’s executive order extending Title IX to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, USDA said.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” states the order.
“I honestly have no idea how providing food to children in schools is somehow connected to transgender policies. What we see here is the Biden administration using children as pawns in this social justice, gender ideology game that they are playing,” Prior said.
Free and reduced meals from the National School Lunch Program, help ensure impoverished students receive necessary nutrition.
USDA’s announcement states that the LGBTQ community has historically “faced striking economic and social disparities, such as higher rates of poverty, unemployment and nutrition insecurity.” Food insufficiency is “three times as common among transgender individuals as compared to cisgender individuals.”
“Whether you are grocery shopping, standing in line at the school cafeteria, or picking up food from a food bank, you should be able to do so without fear of discrimination,” Stacy Dean, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary said in a statement.
But low-income students would suffer if funding is withheld from schools, Prior said, though USDA’s announcement didn’t state what consequences schools would face if they didn’t comply.
“They discuss equity nonstop in the Biden administration. But in reality, if you want to talk about equity or equal opportunity, the best way to do that is to make sure that every child has the opportunity to succeed,” Prior said, continuing: “One way to do that is to make sure that they are properly fed.”
A “vast overreach of federal power,” is what Prior said about the USDA’s intended action.
“It is clear what they are trying to do here, which is a federal takeover of school systems throughout the country based on this radical gender ideology,” He added.
The USDA is set to formerly propose the regulation this month, and before it can be implemented, it will then be open for public comment for several months.
“I think what the Biden administration is doing here is going to be subject to significant legal challenges. They are going to find themselves in litigation over these issues for years, perhaps until the end of Biden’s term,” Prior explained.
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