The Free / Reduced Lunch program is adding a sexual orientation, gender identity non-discrimination clause that must be consented to in order to participate in the program. Schools who plan to participate in the lunch program are suggested to include a reservation of rights letter with their applications.
The state administration has directed all state agencies to include an expanded non-discrimination clause in their agreements and renewal processes. This mostly affects us in three potential areas:
1. For schools participating in the free and reduced-price lunch program and the summer lunch program the following language was inserted into the agreement letter
The USDA nondiscrimination statement that in accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). In addition, the summer lunch program uses the old non-discrimination agreement, but in the manual defines sex in the inclusive way that the new agreement does.
Actions to Take:
Food service participating entities who must submit agreement forms this week:
o Note on the application that you are submitting this Reservation of Rights Letter*.
o Do the same with your summer lunch application, or send in an addendum to the application.