In a letter issued May 13 by the Departments of Justice and Education, the Obama Administration levied another threat to opponents of new bathroom guidelines for transgender students: comply with our directive or lose your federal aid. The young Americans who have the most to lose are Black, Hispanic, and other minority students whose federally-subsidized school lunches are being used as a bargaining chip.
President Obama’s reckless negotiations to appease the politically correct and “gender fluid” leftists laying siege to our primary and high schools ignores the struggle of millions of young Americans and their families who live below the poverty line, a group President Obama is apparently happy to literally send home hungry.
In the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter on transgender students, Administration officials reiterated the “obligations” public school districts are burdened with as recipients of federal money. In over five pages, the letter outlines proper “terminology” and required compliance with Title IX to provide a “safe and nondiscriminatory environment” that allows transgender students to participate and act in a manner “consistent with their gender identity.”
“As a condition of receiving Federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations.”
While it doesn’t carry the weight of a law, this thinly-veiled threat from the Departments of Education and Justice is the latest symptom of rampant lawlessness in the Obama White House. But what the liberals who cheer the President’s bold action fail to see are the real victims of the Obama Administration’s threat to non-complying schools: minority students whose families live below the poverty line.
The National School Lunch program, paid for by the Federal funds President Obama threatens to withhold, provides low-cost or free lunches to more than 31 million children each school day. Is President Obama willing to put the meals of millions of young Americans on the bargaining table in order to win this one battle over a bizarre policy that’s flawed to begin with?
The National School Lunch Act of 1946 established a permanent source of funds for government-guaranteed meals, something the federal government shouldn’t have been involved with in the first place. With an annual cost of more than $10 billion, the federal funds used to feed students who live below the poverty line are substantial, and a withholding of these funds for any school district simply because they refuse to be bullied into giving preferential treatment to one student group would be devastating to young Americans with the most need.
As it stands, children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level ($30k/year for a family of four) are eligible for free meals, and those between 130 percent and 185 percent ($44k/year for a family of four) of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals. For the 2012-2013 academic year (the most recent available statistics), higher percentages of Black (45%), Hispanic (45%), and American Indian/Alaska Native (36%) students attended high-poverty schools.
A request for comment from the U.S. Department of Education was not immediately returned.