The Biden Administration’s Department of Education (ED) confirmed that it is deliberately withholding federal funds from elementary and middle schools that have courses in hunting or archery.
As Fox News reports, the ED issued a statement claiming that the decision was due to an interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) passed last year in response to several shootings. The agency claims that its interpretation determined that funding for any shooting-related activities will be blocked across the country, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.
“This prohibition applies to all ESEA funds,” said an ED spokesman. “The prohibition went into effect immediately on June 25, 2022 and applies to all existing and future awards under all ESEA programs, including [21st Century Community Learning Centers]. The Department is administering the bipartisan law as written by Congress.”
The decision has already led to some schools canceling their archery and hunting classes altogether, which can affect millions of students.
Tommy Floyd, president of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), said that his group boasts 1.3 million students from 9,000 schools in 49 different states.
“It’s a negative for children. As a former educator of 30-plus years, I was always trying to find a way to engage students,” Floyd said last week. “In many communities, it’s a shooting sport, and the skills from shooting sports, that help young people grow to be responsible adults. They also benefit from relationships with role models.”
The decision drew backlash from the GOP, who say that the agency’s interpretation of the law is incorrect. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said that the provision cited by the ED was meant to prevent education funds from being used for the training of school resource officers, not the banning of hunting and archery classes.
“Hunting has been a tradition since the beginning of human history,” said Congressman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. “The Biden admin’s decision to push its elitist values on Tennesseans isn’t going to fly.”
“This is shameful, but not at all surprising,” said Congressman Dan Bishop. (R-N.C.). “The Biden admin will take any opportunity to stomp on your constitutional rights — even down to teaching kids archery and hunting skills.”