Lawmakers in Hartford pass safety bill in wake of drownings - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Lawmakers in Hartford pass safety bill in wake of drownings

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The Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously passed the pool safety bill Wednesday.

Pool safety was thrown under the microscope last year after two students drowned in school pools.

Marcum Asiamah, 14, drowned during a swimming class in the East Hartford High School pool in January. Malvrick Donkor, 14, had been taking part in a swim class at Manchester High School when he was discovered in the deep end in November 2012.

Eyewitness News learned from sources that Malvrick, who arrived from Ghana, Africa in March 2012, was at the bottom of the deep end for 17 minutes as classmates unknowingly swam above.

Malvrick's family said he did not how to swim.

The bill's author told Eyewitness News he wanted to make sure they could do more to protect children, especially when they're in school.

"We just want our kids to be safe. Bottom line," said Public Safety and Security Committee Chair Rep. Stephen Dargan.

By a vote of 140 to 0, the House passed the pool safety bill Wednesday. All schools will have to a have a uniform standard put in place by next year. Also, when schools hold swim classes, they must have at least two people supervising.

"We either have to have a teacher, a lifeguard or somebody that's licensed in aquatic training," Dargan said. "That way we'll have two sets of eyes that will protect our students."

The bill will go before the Connecticut Senate in the next day or two.

If the governor signs it into law right away, the bill could go into affect this coming fall.

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