A bill in the legislature is influenced by a 12-year-old boy who drowned two years ago at a pool in Nathan Hale Middle School.
At that time, a nurse provided CPR but it was too late, the boy died a day later causing a lawsuit between the family and OPS.
One lawmaker, Senator Justin Wayne, is pushing a bill to prevent something like that from happening again and make sure schools are prepared when an incident happens near a pool.
“There was no section and the reason why there is no section is there is nothing in the current law in this so we are literally creating a new law,” said Wayne.
LB 398 would require certification of swimming instructors and lifeguards at public schools who teach swimming.
“We just want to make sure that we affirm that if you send your kid to a public school or to any school, where there’s swim lessons being taught that they are certified lifeguards and certified CPR,” said Wayne.
Back in November of 2014, classmates at Nathan Hale middle school discovered 12-year-old Demariont’e Brown-Elliot at the bottom of a pool, the school said at the time he got out of line in gym class and walked around to the deep end and jumped in on his own.
A nurse pulled him out and paramedics took him to the hospital he died the next day. This incident opened former OPS board member Wayne’s eyes on this issue.
“In no way is this a target on Omaha Public Schools, but what stood out to me though is though that whole process that there was no law saying that if you’re teaching kids how to swim you should at least have a lifeguard certification,” said Wayne.
Wayne said there’s no price tag on this bill from the state’s perspective however if a school district does not have a certified person on staff-the responsibility is on the district to pay for it.
“Reality is you can’t put a price tag on a child’s life,” said Wayne.
Wayne said at least for the Omaha Public School district they could team up with the YMCA he says Lincoln Public Schools does that and it works pretty well.
To view the bill click here: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/105/PDF/Intro/LB398.pdf