In reaction to recent Lowcountry drowning deaths that included 6-year-old Lambs Elementary School student Jah'Quez Smith Hamilton, the Charleston County School District is pursuing a plan aimed at teaching all kindergartners to swim.
Hamilton drowned in a North Charleston apartment complex pool last week.
"This tragic death prompted a sense of emergency," said Superintendent Nancy McGinley. "We need a more comprehensive approach. With all the pools and all the water around Charleston, we can't afford to lose one more child."
The goal of teaching all kindergarten students to swim is an ambitious one, considering that the school district owns no pools, and right now it's more of an idea than a plan.
Providing lessons would require broad participation from municipal recreation departments, and the resolution of substantial transportation issues.
"We would have to figure out a way to transport students to the pool," McGinley said. "We would also need a way to raise money for bathing suits.
"In many cases, in our low-income schools, students don't have bathing suits and may not have been introduced to swimming," she said.
She said a group of swimming advocates recently secured a $25,000 grant from the Logan Rutledge Children's Foundation to support swimming lessons for children from three schools, and that could be a start.
McGinley said she's been organizing a meeting with municipal recreation departments, set for June 22.
"After we meet on the 22nd I hope we will have a game plan," she said.