Wyoming superintendent willing to risk losing ~$40M in federal money for school lunches

Wyoming Superintendent Brian Schroeder. (WDE)

GILLETTTE, Wyo. —  Wyoming will not comply with President Joe Biden’s executive order of new anti-discrimination mandates, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction said in a news release Wednesday.

On May 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced all state and local agencies funded by its Food and Nutrition Services agency must include certain new provisions or risk the loss of millions of federal dollars for school lunches.

“[Fund recipients] must investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation,” the department said in its May 5 news release. “Those organizations must also update their non-discrimination policies and signage to include prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”

The Wyoming Department of Education receives about $40 million each fiscal year from the Food and Nutrition Services agency, Superintendent Brian Schroeder said in the release.

“As Superintendent of Public Instruction responsible for setting Department policy, I immediately opposed this action in the strongest terms possible on legal, political and moral grounds,” he said. “The Biden Administration gets it wrong again because this action is illegal, which is why 26 State Attorneys General are linking arms and demanding a retraction. Undoubtedly, the USDA will face a flurry of lawsuits once rules made pursuant to the Executive Order are promulgated.”

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He said the move is an example of federal overreach and a violation of state sovereignty.

“Our Wyoming Constitution (Article 1, Sections 2 & 3) already prohibits discriminating against any human being, for any reason,” he said. “We don’t need the Nanny State holding our hands and telling us how to interpret or apply our laws.”

After speaking with other states’ education superintendents, Wyoming legislators and governing officials, the attorney general’s office and other legal authorities, Schroeder said, “the short of it is this: we will not comply.”

“Vulnerable children will not go unfed in Wyoming, and we will not allow boys in girls’ locker rooms,” he said. “We categorically reject gender ideology and will not bow to the coercive will of a bully government.”

Schroeder said Wyoming state leaders have told him the state has sufficient funding to pay for students’ lunches without the federal dollars.

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“It only requires two things: the will of the Wyoming people, and the determination of Wyoming’s governing leaders,” he said. “If we don’t fight this, we enable it. Therefore, I call on all Wyomingites to appeal to their local legislators concerning the liberating prospects of severing our dependence on federal dollars. Washington has shown its hand, and will never stop at forcing its woke agenda and ever-changing value system on people who refuse to embrace it. Be fully assured, this is not the end – they will be back (i.e. boys in girls sports, forced usage of pronouns, etc.).”

He said he supports cutting ties with federal funds while financially sustaining Wyoming public education, a Constitutional mandate of the Wyoming Legislature.

“Such action, of course, would have to be a phased endeavor, but it is completely doable, and I am fully committed to working with our governing body on how to proceed in a prudent manner,” he said.

He said his statement is not a call for a special session of the Wyoming Legislature, but legislators need to take action soon.

“[Otherwise,] we will forever be under the feds’ thumb, beholden to a controlling political mindset that wants to own every aspect of our lives, including our belief system,” he said. This is a defining moment for the identity and future of Wyoming and its schools. We must break free if we are to be free.”