(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Funds will no longer be provided to hunting and archery programs in schools, following the Department of Education’s decision to stop awarding to the programs, which was supported by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The Department of Education provided the following statement to FOX21:
The Department continues to implement the law as developed by Congress and continues to be open to engagement from Members regarding changes to this statutory language.
On June 25, 2022, President Biden signed into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Section 13401 of the Act amends section 8526 of the ESEA to add a prohibition that no funds under the ESEA may be used for the provision to any person of a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 930(g)(2) of title 18, United States Code, or training in the use of a dangerous weapon. (Dangerous weapon is defined in section 930(g)(2) as a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.)
As noted above, this prohibition applies to all ESEA funds. The prohibition went into effect immediately on June 25, 2022 and applies to all existing and future awards under all ESEA programs, including 21st CCLC. The Department is administering the bipartisan law as written by Congress.”Education Department spokesperson.
In Colorado Springs, the Archery School of the Rockies teaches the sport to all ages and all skill levels. One of the coaches in the range, Joella Bates, also plays for Team USA.
“The really cool thing about archery over other sports, and I’m not downing in other sports, but we’ve got four year olds and we’ve got ninety year olds that are coming here to our facility and they’re all taking part in archery,” Bates said. “The family can do it all together. It’s not mom and dad sitting on the sidelines and watching the kids. It’s mom and dad and the kids and the grandparents can all do it together.”
62-year-old Bates is passionate about the sport and loves sharing the skill with others.
“It keeps my body healthy and strong and I still compete on the highest level,” Bates said. “I’m a member of the US team and we’re going up to Argentina to compete in the Pan American Field Championships.”
When asked about the new measure taken to stop funding in schools, Bates teared up.
“If we take away educational programs that teach appreciation, safe handling and respect, then we’re not benefiting society,” Bates said. “We’re taking away programs from kids that don’t fit in with other kinds of sports. There are kids that do archery, that don’t do any other sport. We need the place for those kids. We need archery for those kids.”
Bates sees the positive impact that archery has on all ages and the effect it has on school-age children.
“The National Archery and Schools program has found out from surveys that kids that participate in the sport have higher school attendance because they want to be at school so they can do archery,” Bates said. “They have better grades, they have fewer discipline problems because we are very discipline oriented.”
With funds no longer going to archery and hunting programs in schools, Bates is hopeful the sport will continue on. Bates mentioned the support available at Archery School of the Rockies.
“We have programs here for blind people, for veterans, and for senior citizens,” Bates said. “For the youngest and the oldest. We have programs that include everybody and I just think archery belongs in every community in the country.”