Light Wave


Fetterman to Marshall: don’t be a lunch bully

By Jake Beardslee · October 25, 2023

In brief…

  • Senator Marshall introduced a resolution disagreeing with USDA guidance on sex discrimination
  • Senator Fetterman criticized the resolution, saying it could let lunch staff deny meals based on identity
  • Marshall said the resolution aims to prevent federal retaliation against schools on transgender policies
  • The opposing views reflect ongoing debates on LGBTQ issues and school policies
Senators Marshall and Fetterman expressed opposing viewpoints on a resolution concerning USDA guidance, transgender students, and school meal funding.  Governor Tom Wolf/Wikimedia

A new school lunch resolution introduced by Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) has drawn criticism from Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.). The resolution, initially proposed in July by several senators and placed on the calendar last week, disagrees with recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding sex discrimination.

In a statement, Fetterman expressed disbelief that such a resolution was even proposed, saying “This makes it possible for some random lunch lady to deny lunch to a hungry child because she says her god tells her to. School lunch should be free, and certainly free of judgment.” He questioned whether the Senate had “better things to do in the upper chamber than picking on kids because of who they are.”

When asked for comment, Marshall stated that the “Biden Administration’s poisonous transgender agenda is putting children’s school lunch funding in the crosshairs.” He went on to say, “To be abundantly clear, my resolution is about preventing the USDA from weaponizing funding and retaliating against schools that don’t allow biological boys in girls’ bathrooms, and biological boys in girls’ sports. Take politics out of the lunch line- and stop holding school lunches hostage.”

The opposing viewpoints highlight the ongoing debates surrounding LGBTQ issues and school policies. While Fetterman decried denying school lunches based on a child’s identity, Marshall focused on preventing federal mandates regarding bathroom access and sports participation. The resolution signals Republican efforts to push back on Biden Administration guidance protecting transgender students. With the issue now brought to the Senate floor, deliberations will likely continue on how to balance inclusivity, local control, and federal funding related to school meals.