Recent Lowcountry drownings have spawned a bill that would require South Carolina schools to offer free swimming lessons. South Carolina Representative Wendell Gilliard is author of the bill.
“It’s a statewide problem when you look at the whole situation here, especially by the recent incidents we’ve had unfortunately. Just by virtue of our geographical make-up alone, here in the state of South Carolina for the most part in a lot of areas, we should’ve made sure we kept swim classes in the circulum in these schools,” says Gilliard.
Gilliard says not only would swimming lessons help give young children and students the ability to swim, reducing chances of drownings, but there’s more. He says it’s also a great exercise.
“Here we are in this state when we talk about obesity, when we talk about health issues, you have to understand this is the upside of implementing this bill: teaching students CPR, other than how to swim. So, there are a lot of positive things that could come out of this,” says Gilliard.
After a 6-year-old drowned in an apartment complex pool in North Charleston last week, the Charleston County School District has considered offering swimming lessons for kindergartners.
“We have to move forward now, we can’t not talk about this, try to do something about this, because who knows the life we save,” says Gilliard.
The district has not worked out the fine points with how it will pay for the swimming pools and lessons, or how it will transport the students.