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Pool Supervisors Increased From 1 to 3

Times Staff Writer

The San Diego Unified School District has toughened its pool safety rules since the June drowning of a Lewis Junior High School student during her swimming class, increasing supervisors at the pool from one to three.

A committee of district and Red Cross officials last month revised the aquatics program guidelines, which will be taken to the Board of Education Tuesday for approval. But according to the safety committee’s co-chairman, Dr. Frank Till, the new safety rules have already been implemented in district schools for the current summer swimming programs.

“This program is a step in the right direction,” Till said of the new guidelines for the school year to begin Tuesday. “It’s mainly meant to tighten up things--especially better supervision of the pools. Unfortunately, it had to take a tragedy to take a closer look at (safety rules).”

District General Counsel Tina Dyer said no swimming program will begin next term until it is consistent with the new rules.

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Under the old rules, there had to be one supervisor for each group of 25 students. The new policy states that a minimum of three staff members must be present--one to act solely as lifeguard.

The three supervisors must include: a certificated teacher with current American Red Cross water safety instructor and cardiopulmonary resuscitation cards; a lifeguard with current American Red Cross Senior Life Saving and CPR cards, who will have no instructional responsibilities during this period except to observe swimmers, and a staff member to supervise the locker rooms and to provide other assistance.

If more than 25 students enter a swim class, more supervision will be required, said Wayne Bate, a committee member and district athletics employee.

On June 16, Alice Kwan Lee, 13, of Del Cerro was found 3 feet under water at the Allied Gardens Swimming Pool by other students at the start of a swimming class. She lapsed into a coma and died two weeks later.

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A lawyer representing the girl’s family told district officials that he intends to file a wrongful-death claim, alleging inadequate supervision.


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