After drownings, SC lawmaker wants swimming taught

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CHARLESTON, S.C. - Public schools would have to offer free swimming lessons under a bill proposed by a South Carolina legislator after seven drowning deaths in the Charleston area in recent weeks.

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard's bill would require two years of swimming instruction as a high school graduation requirement, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Wednesday.

Gilliard's bill would require all public schools to provide instruction if there is a public pool within 10 miles of the district. Students who show they can swim would not have to take the lessons.

The bill does not include any provision for paying for the classes.

"There's no excuse for having pools in proximity to schools and not offering swimming classes," Gilliard said.

The Charleston County School District began discussing plans to offer voluntary swimming lessons to all kindergartners after a 6-year-old child drowned at a North Charleston apartment complex.

The death is one of seven this spring in the Charleston area. Four of the victims were younger than 7.

Charleston County School Superintendent Nancy McGinley says she looks forward to Gilliard's leadership in finding money for the program.

"We applaud any effort that will help keep children safe," she said.

Dorchester District 2 public information officer Pat Raynor says it would be tough to provide lessons for all 22,000 students in that district, which has no pools in its schools.

"It's a community concern," said Raynor, who said the responsibility for teaching youngsters to swim shouldn't be limited to schools.

Gilliard said he hopes to attach a plan to his bill to pay for the lessons. He said transportation to pools shouldn't be a problem because school buses already take students to various activities.

"That's what school buses are for," he said.

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jboy
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jboy 06/17/09 - 02:10 pm
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2 years to learn how to

2 years to learn how to swim!!!!

cinch123
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cinch123 06/17/09 - 02:22 pm
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Ok, this is a bit weird.

Ok, this is a bit weird. Schools can't get money to fund the education that children need to pass the state testing and he wants to add swimming. Teachers are being laid off left and right, class sizes are getting bigger, field trips eliminated because gas is high and running buses expensive, even talk about 4 day school weeks with longer days to save money on transportation etc. But let's add swimming for everyone that has to occur off school campuses.

When will this swimming class occur? Which core class that is required for Adequate Yearly Progress by the federal goverment will suffer for swimming? Now I don't want kids to drown either, but schools can not do everthing. There has to be some sort of cut off on what schools are responsible for.

tgpotgpo
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tgpotgpo 06/17/09 - 03:15 pm
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I never learned to swim, can

I never learned to swim, can I get into the classes?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 06/17/09 - 04:55 pm
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I hope the residents of

I hope the residents of Charleston County defeat this worthless politician at the next election.

egan01
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egan01 06/17/09 - 07:04 pm
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The nanny state strikes

The nanny state strikes again!

teapot
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teapot 06/17/09 - 07:05 pm
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Is this part of the

Is this part of the re-distribution of the wealth. Will all the "rich" folks who have pools near a school have to share with the schools, and pay for the insurance to cover the "civil award" when the lawyers sue for an injury? Will hotels & motels be required to share also?
Noble thought, but not practical. Joins the Marines or Navy, they include free swimming lessons with every enlistment.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 06/17/09 - 10:11 pm
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This is freaking insane. Why

This is freaking insane. Why dont you teach people about credit, the economy, personal finance, and family budgeting? Swimming?

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