Previously in one of our articles, we have mentioned about the safety standards of swimming classes in Connecticut being varied. This issue was brought up after two student drownings occurred during swimming classes last year. At the moment, a key legislator is pressing for stronger pool safety measures in public schools. State Rep. Stephen D. Dargan’s bill will be establishing a standardised policy on pool safety in schools, “so as to reduce the loss of life or injury related to swimming at public schools.”
“We want our young children and high school students in the safest environments possible. They should not be dying in our pools,” stated Stephen. Last year, a Courant review revealed that direct state-licensed organizations and youth camps had more stringent requirements to adhere to. On the other hand, public schools had rather vague guidelines put in placed. This lack of uniformity in safety policies as well as the extend to which they were being enforced came under scrutiny after the drowning incidents in schools. This prompted the legislators to recommend safety guidelines that were more standardised throughout.
The General Assembly’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Research completed a report Dec. 20 on state regulation of public swimming pools. Stephen was the one to put in a request for the information following the Nov. 21 drowning of Malvrick Donkor, a Manchester High freshman. Sadly, this was the second drowning in 2012 at a Connecticut school. The student’s death sparked strong reactions from several school districts across Connecticut.
Last month, both swimming instructors and staff from Hartford schools came together to discuss about pool safety. There were quite a number of suggestions and ideas thrown around. Some included, using only certified lifeguards for the swimming classes in schools, having a proper student-to-teacher ratios and emphasising on a “buddy system” in the pool. “I think for the most part, we are following these guidelines. Right now, we just want to make sure we are up-to-snuff on our current policies and if we need to make any recommendations we feel are important for the safety of our students,” explained Diane B. Callis, Bulkeley High’s athletic director, when she was speaking with the group. If you would like to know more about the story, do read it from here.