Sinema, Cornyn, Tillis, and Bipartisan Colleagues Urge Department of Education to Follow the Law and Fund Archery and Hunting Safety Education

Sep 18, 2023

Senators urged the Department of Education to change its guidance to clarify that, under the Bipartisan Safer Communities law, students can continue archery and hunting safety education

Sinema and colleagues also urged Senate appropriators to direct the Department of Education to follow the law in future appropriations legislation

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senators John Cornyn (Texas) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) – key authors of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) – sent a letter with a bipartisan group of senators to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the Department to change its guidance to clarify that, under their Bipartisan Safer Communities lawstudents can continue educational enrichment programs and activities, including archery and hunting safety education.

Contrary to Congressional intent, the Department of Education’s interpretation of a provision of the law has created ambiguity about whether or not federal funds can still be used to support archery, hunting safety education, and other extracurricular activities.

“The Department of Education is wrongly interpreting the language of our Bipartisan Safer Communities law. We’re holding the Administration accountable and ensuring they follow our law so students can continue to enjoy school-based hunting and archery programs in Arizona and across the country,” said Sinema.

In their letter, the senators underscore how the Department of Education misinterpreted language in the bill to exclude certain educational activities from receiving federal resources. 

Section 13401 of BSCA amended section 8526 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to add a new prohibited use of federal funds provided under ESEA to prevent these funds from being used to purchase dangerous weapons for school staff. Yet, in implementing section 13401, the Department issued guidance that contradicts Congressional intent and created concerns that ESEA funds may no longer be used to support archery, hunter safety education, or other extracurricular programs.

Sinema, joined by a bipartisan group of Senators, also urged Senate appropriators to direct the Department of Education in upcoming appropriations legislation.

Click HERE to read the senators’ letter to the Secretary Cardona.

Click HERE to read to read the senator’s letter to appropriators.