Biden Admin Confirms Withholding Key Funds From Schools That Have Hunting Classes
US President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up as he leaves St. Edmond Roman Catholic Church in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, after being asked if he spoke US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, on July 29, 2023. Biden was asked how McConnell is doing; the president gave th thumbs up.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration confirmed this week that it is not giving key federal funds to elementary and secondary schools that offer hunting or archery courses.

Fox News reported that the Department of Education said in a statement that funding from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 was being blocked because of its interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) — a gun control bill that was signed into law following a shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last year after Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) “expended two decades of political capital” to get it passed, as The Texas Tribune reports.

The withheld federal funds earmarked under ESEA for schools with hunting and archery programs impact thousands of schools and potentially millions of students across the country.

“This prohibition applies to all ESEA funds,” the Department said. “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 BSCA included “an amendment to an ESEA subsection listing prohibited uses for federal school funding,” Fox News reported. “That amendment prohibits ESEA funds from helping provide any person with a dangerous weapon or to provide ‘training in the use of a dangerous weapon.'”

Cornyn and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona last month saying they were “alarmed to learn that the Department of Education (the ‘Department’) has misinterpreted the BSCA to require the defunding of certain longstanding educational and enrichment programs — specifically archery and hunter education classes — for thousands of children, who rely on these programs to develop life skills, learn firearm safety, and build self-esteem.”


In related news, actor Matthew McConaughey told ABC News this week that he started his new Green Lights Grant Initiative after learning that schools were struggling to get funding from the BSCA.

He said 12 schools near Uvalde had applied for the funding, but none had received it.

“What are we doing?” McConaughey said. “That’s a zero percent success rate. One, way too few applications. Number two, the 12 applications, we went zero for twelve?”

“The government admits that it shouldn’t be this complicated. You got 14,000 something schools,” he continued. “This grant initiative is going to connect those districts to those billions of dollars that’s there, available, and wants to be used to make our kids safe.”

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