A high school rifle team was awarded a $5,000 grant by the National Rifle Association to purchase new rifles and replace aging equipment, some of which had been in use since the 1970s. But, on Monday, the school board voted to reject the grant, preventing the team from using the funds.
Mike Qendro, the coach of the Stroudsburg High School rifle team, applied for the NRA grant back in December, but just recently found out that they were selected to receive the funds.
However, since the district’s name was also listed on the grant, the school board also had to officially accept the funds. After a vote, the board stated that the grant was being rejected, reportedly because some members were concerned about taking funds from the NRA.
After word of the decision spread, Brian Winot, a businessman in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, decided to take action.
“It wouldn’t be acceptable if the football team was using helmets from the 1970s, so, as a local community, we didn’t feel it was acceptable for the rifle team to,” said Winot.
Nearly a dozen business owners came forward, some of whom are NRA members, and raised over $6,000 for the rifle team, presenting the funds as a donation.
The money was accepted on behalf of the rifle team by the district superintendent.
Speaking about the ordeal, Qendro said that “the kids were very upset and I was upset myself” after learning the grant was rejected.
“I was like, ‘Okay, we really need this and it’s great we got it,’ and then, all of the sudden, ‘No, you can’t have it,’” he stated, according to a report by WNEP.
“But, out of that sprung up local community members, just grassroots to take care of the team.”
Since the money is a gift, school board approval isn’t required. Qendro intends to start ordering new equipment for next season, which is scheduled to begin in the fall.