Senate Republicans and Democrats sent letters objecting to the Biden administration’s blocking of federal funding for schools with hunting education and archery programs.
The effort, led by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, included a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, signed by 9 Republicans and 9 Democrats, and one to Appropriations leadership, signed by 6 Republicans and 11 Democrats, Fox News reports.
The letters say the Department of Education misinterpreted the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which “prohibits the use of elementary and secondary education funds to provide any person with a dangerous weapon or training in the use of a dangerous weapon.”
Cornyn and 17 other lawmakers say the Biden administration is improperly using the legislation to justify cutting government funding for archery and hunting programs across the country.
“Unfortunately, and contrary to Congressional intent, the Department of Education has misinterpreted the language to exclude certain educational activities from receiving federal resources,” Cornyn and lawmakers wrote, according to Fox News. “This is concerning because of the important role these enrichment programs can play in students’ lives.
“Archery is an inclusive extracurricular activity that empowers students from all backgrounds to learn a sport and compete. Hunter safety classes and programs play an important role in teaching safety, wildlife management, landowner relations, and personal responsibility to students.”
Many schools are cutting their archery, hunting education and wilderness courses to meet federal guidelines to be eligible for funding, according to Fox News.
Jared Aaron, a certified archery and hunting education teacher, said this will negatively affect schools and their students.
“It’s tragic. Archery is a therapeutic experience for many kids,” Aaron said, according to The Community Journal. “It forces you to quiet your mind and focus on this one thing. The process requires concentration and discipline. I think it’s a wonderful program, as well as a ‘fit’ for some students who may not have found another school activity where they feel at home.”
Aaron estimated that more than 1 million students in the United States will be deprived of the National Archery in Schools Program if the funding is cut.
“These are two very important programs where we teach responsibility and safety,” he added.
The letters ask that the federal funding be reinstated.