The Department of Education confirmed on Monday that it is withholding federal funding from elementary and secondary schools that include archery and hunting courses in their curriculum, Fox News reported.
In a statement to Fox News, the Education Department said its decision to withhold funding is based on its interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that was signed into law by President Biden last year following a series of mass shootings.
According to the Education Department, its interpretation of the law means that the funding for sports activities involving shooting included in the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act will be blocked nationwide.
Fox News reported last week that the Education Department’s decision to block funding for shooting activities in schools began circulating among hunting education groups earlier this year, prompting concern about the future of archery and hunting programs in American schools.
National Archery in the School Program President Tommy Floyd told Fox last week that his organization has 1.3 million students in almost 9,000 schools across 49 states who are enrolled in archery classes. Some of the participating schools have already canceled archery and hunting classes due to the Education Department’s interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
According to the International Hunter Education Association, more than 500,000 students train and certify in hunting education courses every year. The group asserts that such courses are one reason the number of hunting-related injuries has declined over the years while the population of game animals, like deer, wild turkey, geese, and elk, has increased.
Tommy Floyd told Fox News that the Department of Education’s decision to cut funding is a “negative for children.” He said for many communities nationwide, the skills learned in shooting sports “help young people grow to be responsible adults.” He added that children also “benefit from the relationships with role models.”