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Tampa Christian school sues Biden admin for threatening to pull lunches from low-income kids

ADF attorneys represent Grant Park Christian Academy in federal lawsuit
Students eating lunch at Grant Park Christian Academy

TAMPA, Fla. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Christian school that serves children from a low-income, minority community in Tampa filed suit Wednesday against President Joe Biden and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for threatening to take away children’s lunches simply because they attend a Christian school.

Grant Park Christian Academy receives funding for its school lunch program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the National School Lunch Program, which Fried administers. In a new change under Title IX, participating schools, including Grant Park Christian Academy, must go along with the Biden administration’s radical expansion of “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity, in violation of the schools’ religious beliefs, or lose their ability to serve low-income children free meals.

“The Biden administration is threatening to take away lunch money from low-income children simply because they attend Christian schools,” said ADF Legal Counsel Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo. “Grant Park Christian Academy is working to revitalize their historically underprivileged community, and offering children nutritious meals is a vital part of their service. The Biden administration is ignoring the law and forcing this wonderful school to make an untenable choice: violate its religious beliefs or stop providing lunches to children.”

The 56 students enrolled at Grant Park Christian Academy for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 10, all come from families below the federal poverty level and receive scholarships to attend the private school. Grant Park Christian Academy is applying for school lunch funding for the 2022-2023 school year, but Fried is poised to reject the school’s funding, and with it, the school’s ability to continue serving food to kids.

Grant Park Christian Academy’s religious beliefs, including its understanding of the nature of the human person and marriage and family, preclude it from complying with a federal mandate to substitute gender identity for biological sex in any aspect of its activities, especially when it comes to males sharing restrooms, private spaces, and programs with females, and vice versa.

“We treat every child with dignity and respect, and we would never deny a hungry child a meal,” said Pastor Alfred Johnson, president of Faith Action Ministry Alliance, the parent organization of Grant Park Christian Academy. “Our kids depend on our school’s lunch program to eat balanced, nutritious meals. It’s wrong for government officials to threaten to take the funding for those meals away simply because we wish to live and operate consistent with our religious convictions.”

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Grant Park Christian Academy v. Fried, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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