Christian Education

Florida Christian school sues Biden and Nikki Fried over gender identity warrant over student lunches

A Christian academy in Florida filed a lawsuit Wednesday over threats to lose school lunch funding for low-income students unless it complies with the Biden administration’s gender identity policy on pronouns , sports and toilets.

Grant Park Christian Academy in Tampa has sued President Biden, the Department of Agriculture, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried over May 5 directives from the Food and Nutrition Department of the United States. USDA adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.

The school contacted the office of Ms Fried, who administers the federal school meals program, but was told that participating schools must comply with “all regulations of the federal program”, according to the lawsuit in the court of US District of the Intermediate District of Florida.

“Commissioner Fried’s office gave the school an option when the school objected to violating its religious beliefs – ‘your school is not obligated to participate in the National School Lunch Program,'” a said the lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the school.

Lunches provided by the school located in a low-income minority community are for some students “the best meal they eat all day – and sometimes it’s the only meal,” the lawsuit said.

“In short, the Biden administration and Commissioner Fried’s efforts to redefine gender in federal law have now reached the point where they will deny school lunches to disadvantaged students, simply because their school will not violate their religious beliefs.” , indicates the folder.

The Washington Times has contacted the USDA and Florida’s commissioner of agriculture for comment.

The challenge comes a day after 22 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tennessee to block enforcement of the USDA guidelines.

Attorneys general accused the administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act and misinterpreting Title IX, while Florida Christian School made the additional argument that the policy undermines the religious freedom.

Grant Park’s traditional Christian beliefs “prevent it from complying with a federal mandate to substitute gender identity for biological sex in all aspects of its business, especially when it comes to men sharing restrooms. , private spaces and programs with women, and vice versa”. says the press release from the ADF.

“This new school catering mandate applies to all school activities, including restrooms, dress codes, hiring, admissions, programs, athletics, and everyday conversations,” the lawsuit said. “It prohibits gender-specific toilets or dress codes. And this necessitates the use of “preferred” pronouns in contrast to the gender of the student.

USDA guidelines say that state and local agencies that participate in the program must “update their policies and non-discrimination signs to include prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. “.

The policy follows the White House Executive Order on preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity issued on January 20, 2021, the first day of Mr. Biden’s presidency.

ADF legal counsel Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo accused the Biden administration of “threatening to take lunch money away from low-income kids just because they attend Christian schools.”

There are 56 students enrolled in the Christian academy, all of whom come from families with incomes below the poverty line and attend school on scholarships. The fall semester begins August 10.

“Grant Park Christian Academy is applying for school lunch funding for the 2022-2023 school year, but Fried is set to reject the school’s funding, and with it, the school’s ability to continue to serving food to children,” the statement read.

Pastor Alfred Johnson, president of Faith Action Ministry Alliance, the school’s parent organization, said the academy would “never deny a hungry child a meal”.

“Our children depend on our school’s meal program to eat balanced, nutritious meals,” he said. “It is wrong for government officials to threaten to withdraw funding for these meals simply because we wish to live and function in accordance with our religious beliefs.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is also named in the lawsuit, said in a May 5 press release that “USDA is committed to administering all of its programs with fairness and equity, and to serving those who need it with the highest dignity”.

“A key step in promoting these principles is to eradicate discrimination in all its forms, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said.

Ms. Fried is running for the Democratic nomination for governor to challenge Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in the midterm elections. The primary is August 23.