WDE Position on the USDA’s Updated Discrimination Policy

WDE 6-12-22

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Civil Rights Division (CRD) applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County to its updated discrimination statement. Specifically, FNS’s interpretation of discrimination on the basis of sex in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance now includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder strongly maintains that the USDA’s actions have forced states to comply with the Biden Administration’s agenda, as articulated in Executive Order 13988 (“Preventing and Combatting Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation”). The Superintendent also maintains that the USDA has forced states to get in line, or risk receiving federal funds to support school nutrition programs. Superintendent 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. 

Superintendent Schroeder and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) will, however, proceed with caution and prudence going forward. While the Superintendent vigorously pursues political and legal options to oppose federal overreach, the WDE will work to maintain the flow of federal funds to support children in Wyoming. Until the Wyoming Legislature takes substantive action to allocate state funds to cover the numerous federally-funded programs in Wyoming, the WDE has little choice but to work within the framework mandated by politicians in Washington D.C. 

The WDE acknowledges that many people in Wyoming will disagree on the political/philosophical elements of the USDA’s reinterpretation, and encourages citizens to respectfully engage legislators, and other elected officials, as they see appropriate. 

The WDE further acknowledges, as a matter of local control, school districts may individually elect to decline participation in food nutrition programs offered by the USDA.

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