Missouri Attorney General directs letter to Springfield School Board over school lunch policy

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (Photo by Annelise Hanshaw - Missouri Independent)

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey directed a letter to the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education, urging them to reject Joe Biden’s Department of Labor’s flawed guidance, attempting to hold Missouri children’s free lunches hostage in favor of a radical sexual ideology.

Attorney General Bailey writes, “It has come to my attention that the Springfield Public School’s Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a policy revision that would adopt incorrect guidance received from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to public statements, there is concern among some members of the school board that failure to adopt this policy could put up to $7 million of free and reduced lunch funding for kids in Springfield at risk.

“It is clear that the Biden Administration is willing to threaten school children and use them as pawns in its wider culture war. I am here to say that such divisiveness and fearmongering have no place in our state. Even the suggestion that a child would be denied a school lunch based on any classification of race, religion, national origin, or sex is absurd. Yet, federal bureaucrats at the USDA are willing to engage in such tactics of fear and manipulation to arrive at their desired outcome.”

He continues, “My office recently sued the USDA over this policy in federal court. In that case, the court clarified that the prohibition against sex-based discrimination under SNAP is not a ‘command’ to enact any policy or regulation. Tennessee v. United States Dep’t of Agric., No. 3:22-CV-257, 2023 WL 3048342, at *23 (E.D. Tenn. Mar. 29, 2023). Therefore, the published USDA guidance does not command that school districts adopt a policy or redefine ‘sex’ to include gender identity or sexual orientation. The Biden Administration is basing its flawed guidance on a threat that, in order for schools to feed their children, they must acquiesce to a radical sexual ideology.

“With its current guidance, the USDA misinterprets the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. In Bostock, the issue before the Court was the wrongful termination of an employee – not school lunches. The Supreme Court went out of its way to limit its holding, responding specifically to those who ‘worry that our decision will sweep beyond Title VII to other federal or state laws that prohibit sex discrimination.’ Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731, 1753 (2020). The Supreme Court rejected attempts to use its holding for other purposes, further stating, ‘But none of these other laws are before us; we have not had the benefit of adversarial testing about the meaning of their terms, and we do not prejudge any such question. Under Title VII, too, we do not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms, or anything else of the kind.’ Id. at 1753.”

He concludes, “I appreciate the willingness of citizens to give of their time to serve their community, including serving on a local school board. It concerns me greatly that you are being pushed to adopt policies with no basis in law. Please know that as the Attorney General of the State of Missouri, I am committed to defending the laws as passed by our elected representatives and to protecting the citizens of our state from edicts from bureaucrats in Washington. I will not allow those bureaucrats to hold our children hostage to force their radical agenda on Missouri’s schools.”

The full letter can be viewed here.

(Photo by Annelise Hanshaw – Missouri Independent)