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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 09, 2018 1:00 am

Area schools among NRA grant recipients

RON SHAWGO | The Journal Gazette

Concordia High School uses NRA grants for its air rifle team; Whitko Community School Corp. received targets from the NRA for its archery program.

Neither has plans to distance itself from the group.

A handful of northeast Indiana schools receive the grants, according to NRA Foundation tax records compiled by the Associated Press. Whitko and North Adams Community Schools appear to be the only area public schools receiving grants.

Concordia received cash and noncash grants totaling about $19,000 between 2014 and 2016, according to the data. They support the school's Olympic-style air rifle team, school spokeswoman Ashley Wiehe said.

The program, part of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, dates to 1935 and could exist without the NRA's help, Wiehe added. But the school has had no second thoughts about accepting the grants since the Parkland, Florida, shooting, she said.

Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers high schools also have rifle clubs that benefit from NRA grants. Dwenger's grants totaled nearly $21,000 between 2014 and 2016. Luers' total was about $12,600 for 2014 and 2015.

While confirming that the grants are used for equipment and ammunition, Stephanie Patka, spokeswoman for the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese, did not say in an email response whether the schools plan to continue using them.

In Decatur, the Bellmont High School Rifle Club has received about $25,000 in noncash grants between 2013 and 2016. Superintendent Brent Lehman was unavailable for comment Thursday, a staff member said.

Whitko Community School Corp., which serves Whitley and Kosciusko counties, received a noncash grant in 2016 for archery targets worth nearly $5,500, said Superintendent Steven Clason. The district has a large competitive archery program, he added.

The district received bull's-eye and artificial animal targets through the NRA, Clason said.

“We really haven't had any discussions about whether we would continue or not continue,” he said. “We really haven't gone down that road. We've been really successful with our archery. I think it teaches students the right way to handle that type of instrument.”

rshawgo@jg.net