PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF DR. STEVE GALLON III
November 14, 2019
At the School Board meeting of November 20, 2019, District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III will call for the adoption and implementation of Water Safety Curriculum & Instruction for students in grades PK-12 in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
School Board Agenda Item H-12, was supported and co-sponsored by Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman, Vice-Chair Dr. Martin Karp, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Ms. Susie Castillo, Dr. Larry Feldman, Ms. Lubby Navarro, and Ms. Maria Teresa Rojas during the committee meeting held on November 13, 2019.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is committed to the education, health, safety, and overall welfare of its students. In doing so, the District has consistently leveraged both its responsibility within its walls of learning and relationships throughout the community in ensuring student learning and equipping them with life-long critical thinking, decision-making, and life-long safety skills. Such learning and skill development have involved the provision of opportunities for students to not only learn to swim, but acquire critical life-long, and life-saving skills for water safety.
A recent Red Cross survey found that sixty-one percent of children, including more than half of all teens, were not “water competent” as measured by a child’s ability to, in this order: step or jump into the water over their head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim twenty-five yards to the exit; and exit from the water.
Failure to provide appropriate and equitable water safety education has resulted in high numbers of drownings among children and youth between the ages of 4-17. A silent crisis in communities across the country, nearly 4,000 drowning deaths occur annually in the United States.
The Board has recognized the preventative benefits that education, information, training, and awareness have on teaching students how to swim and reducing drownings for children and youth in Miami-Dade County, and the value gained as they enter into adulthood and throughout the course of their lives.
“This issue is not simply about swimming lessons, but about equipping our children and youth with requisite water competency and safety skills that may ultimately save their lives,” said Dr. Steve Gallon III.
“I proffer this item in the spirit of the countless children who have lost their lives through drownings, and in hopes of eliminating such loss of young lives in the future.”