Lowcountry lawmaker pushing for swim classes in public schools, again
by Angela Brown
State lawmakers are out of session for the summer, but South Carolina State Representative Wendell Gilliard is already looking ahead.
Rep.s Gilliard is planning to introduce legislation next session that would add swimming classes to the public school curriculum
This battle is personal for Rep. Gilliard, “I realized early in life that I had friends that lost their lives by drowning.”
Many people who die in drownings are young. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in five deadly drowning victims are 14-years-old or younger.
Gilliard’s first attempt to pass legislation adding swimming class in all public schools failed in the state house.
So Gilliard tried another approach, “I decided to come back and introduce a resolution to first make the month of May water safety month.”
Gilliard says the resolution also required educators to teach a couple hours of water safety.
Next legislative session Gilliard plans to reintroduce his bill requiring schools to teach swimming classes.
He expects a fight.
ABC News 4 asked Gilliard why public schools should be responsible for teaching swimming and not parents.
He said swim instructors at school will know what they are doing, and teaching swimming in school can open up new opportunities for students.
We’ll follow this legislation as it moves through the Statehouse.