The Biden administration is considering reversing its current policy of curtailing funding for school hunting education and archery classes across the U.S., expressing intentions to collaborate with Congress to reestablish the financing of these programs.
According to a statement sent to Fox News Digital by the Department of Education, the administration has withdrawn federal support for school sportsmen activities traditionally funded by the government and acknowledged these programs as “enrichment opportunities.” They have committed to working with Congress to formulate legal language to address the situation.
The Education Department’s spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “We are committed to implementing the law as designed by Congress and acknowledge the constraints this language may impose on certain enrichment opportunities funded by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We are willing to offer technical support to draft legal language to rectify this issue and restore the permissibility of ESEA funds for valuable student enrichment programs such as archery and hunter safety.”
Late in the previous month, Fox News Digital revealed that the Education Department had issued federal guidance explaining that hunting and archery programs in schools would no longer receive funding. This interpretation of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) caused many schools to remove such courses from their curriculum.
Sarah Martinez, a senior agency official, clarified in the guidance that such programs could not be funded under the 1965 ESEA as they involve “technically dangerous weapons.”
Several Democrats and Republicans, including Senators Sherrod Brown, Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Kyrsten Sinema, John Cornyn, and Thom Tillis, have expressed concerns over the administration’s interpretation of BSCA, with some explicitly writing to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to accuse his agency of misconstruing their legislation.
GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, leading a group of 66 House Republicans, also wrote a letter to Cardona last week, criticizing the decision to end funding for school hunting and archery programs. Stefanik accused the Biden Administration of advancing a “Far Left” political agenda and expressed concern over removing opportunities for students to learn about firearms safely.
Reps. Mark Green and Richard Hudson introduced the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act on Aug. 1, aiming to halt the Education Department’s decision to cut funding for these classes.
The BSCA, labeled by some as a “gun control” bill but advocated by others as a move towards “safer, more inclusive and positive” schools, was enacted in June 2022 following mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. This law includes an amendment to the ESEA, listing forbidden uses for federal school funding, including anything related to dangerous weapons. However, according to the bill’s sponsors, this was designed to restrict ESEA funding for training school resource officers, not to eliminate hunting and archery education.