The Biden Administration has moved forward with a controversial interpretation of federal education law, denying elementary and secondary schools nationwide funding for hunting and archery programs in their curriculum.
The Department of Education revealed in a statement that the plain text interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) from last year meant funding for shooting sports activities earmarked under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 will be blocked across the country.
"This prohibition applies to all ESEA funds," a Department of Education spokesperson told Fox News Digital. "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 funding decision impacts thousands of schools and millions of American students nationwide and has sparked amplified concerns from hunting education groups earlier this year.
Tommy Floyd, the president of the National Archery in the Schools Program, revealed that his organization alone boasts 1.3 million students from nearly 9,000 schools across 49 states who are enrolled in archery courses.
"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 in an interview 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."
Moreover, the International Hunter Education Association discloses that hunter education courses train and certify more than 500,000 students annually, proving to be effective methods in lowering hunting-related injuries, while increasing the populations of game over the years.
Since its passage, the BSCA has faced backlash for its amendment to an ESEA subsection listing prohibited uses for federal school funding. This was highlighted by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona earlier this month, expressing concern that the agency is misinterpreting the provision, thus withholding education funds for programs training school resource officers, instead of for hunting and archery classes.
This has incited similar sentiments from other Republican lawmakers and groups including the National Rifle Association and the Safari Club International.
Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., was the first to raise alarm, claiming the Biden Administration was “pushing its elitist values…on Tennesseans”, before Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., followed suit, accentuating that “The Biden admin will take any opportunity to stomp on your constitutional rights — even down to teaching kids archery and hunting skills.”
Overall, it remains to be seen if the Department of Education’s interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is upheld, or if growing concerns from within and outside the government force a change in course.