A Tampa Christian school is suing the Biden administration and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
The conservative group, Alliance Defending Freedom, represents Grant Park Christian Academy. It says students at the school will be denied access to a free lunch program due to a new federal anti-discrimination policy.
The US Department of Agriculture funds the program which provides free meals to students who fall below the poverty line. It requires compliance with Title IX regulations that were recently revised to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But it contains exemptions for religious schools.
The lawsuit argues that compliance would violate the school’s religious freedom.
“All children at Grant Park Christian Academy come from low-income families who fall below the federal poverty line and are entitled to receive funding for their education,” attorney Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo said. .
“The Biden administration is trying to redefine Title IX in a way that will force the school to choose between violating its religious beliefs or serving essential school meals. We have sued for these illegal mandates.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services disputed those claims, saying the state agency was not responsible for federal regulations.
“Our office has yet to be served in what appears to be a politically motivated attempt to distract from the failure of the DeSantis administration and its Department of Children and Families to implement the federal nutrition programs.”
The agency’s commissioner is a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida.