Tommy Floyd, the President of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), explained to IJR due to federal guidance passed on throughout hunting and archery groups, the Department of Education (DoE) found that under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), archery and hunting programs in schools would no longer receive funding.
NASP is “the largest archery organization for kids in the world,” Floyd told IJR, adding they have a “current enrollment of around 1.3 million.”
“They provide a role model, someone, that in many cases provides much more than the shooting sport instruction,” Floyd told IJR of what archery programs do to help students.
These programs also help students grow into “the person they can be,” especially those who may not be in a home with “strong guidance” around them, Floyd said.
Floyd added students can learn “focus, patience,” learning about “dealing with diversity, dealing with both success and failure,” as well as learning the importance of teamwork.
President Joe Biden signed the BSCA into effect on June 25, 2022, which seeks to expand “mental health services and provides additional support” to states and school districts, according to the DoE’s Office of Elementary & Secondary Education website.
BSCA seeks to “enhance initiatives that will promote safer, more inclusive, and positive school environments for all students, educators, and school staff.”
The BSCA was introduced by Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and seeks to “protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across” the country.
Senators Cornyn and Tillis wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in early July expressing concern the DoE had “misinterpreted the BCSA.”
“We were alarmed to learn recently that the Department of Education has misinterpreted the BSCA to require the defending 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,” Tillis and Cornyn wrote in the letter to Cardona, according to Fox News.
Cornyn and Tillis wrote in their letter how the DoE “mistakenly believes that the BSCA precludes funding these enrichment programs” and how this type of interpretation is a contradiction of “congressional intent and the text of the BSCA.”
When asked by IJR how the programs not receiving funding would impact students, Floyd said at this time the hunting and archery education groups are in a “holding pattern,” describing it as a “wait and see situation.”
“I’ve seen the letter of course that went to the department, and I’m very hopeful they’ll consider the letter itself and what it represents. I don’t think the situation is final.”
Floyd described the possibility of the decision being final as being “very detrimental” and “harmful” as it would prevent students from being able to participate in programs that would help them.
IJR reached out to Safari Club International, Senator Tillis, and the Department of Education for a comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.