Skip to main content

Minnesota could be 1st in nation to require swimming lessons

  • Author:
  • Updated:

If approved, a bill in the Minnesota Legislature would become the first law in the nation to require swimming lessons for children in public schools, KARE 11 reports.

The Minnesota House Education Policy Committee on Tuesday will consider H. F. No. 2113.

The legislation, sponsored by two Minneapolis DFL lawmakers, state Rep. Karen Clark and state Sen. Jeff Hayden, would require all public schools to teach swimming, or, if the school doesn't have a pool, basic water safety.

"Throughout the whole state, we have kids who are not learning to swim," Clark told MPR News. "It seems to me so basic that children would get that instruction. We've gone backwards, unfortunately."

Hannah Lieder, board chair of the nonprofit Minneapolis Swims, told KARE 11 that there is a big disparity between white and minority children when it comes to learning how to swim. "It's practical. It's something that every child and every person in this state can use their whole life," she told the station.

Lawmakers are considering the legislation after two school drownings. Frederick Ndereimana, 19, died in March, 18 days after being found face down in the Fargo South High School pool. Abdullahi Charif, 12, was found at the bottom of his St. Louis Park school’s swimming pool following gym class on Feb. 27, when no lifeguard was present.

Nationwide, about a dozen children have drowned while at school over the past few years, and most cases had similarities: Immigrant children who did not know how to swim, with no lifeguard on duty, MPR News reports.

In Detroit, a school instructor charged in the drowning death of an East Detroit High School 14-year-old student at a school pool faces a May 8 court date.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Standoff in Prior Lake: Man assaulted officer, broke into home

The suspect allegedly assault an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.29.58 AM

Extremely drunk driver arrested in Chaska

The driver was more than four times the legal limit.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 8.21.21 AM

Stillwater police looking for suspect who stole vehicle with 1-year-old inside

The suspect abandoned the vehicle with the child still inside just 5 minutes after the theft.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 5.01.34 PM

Suspected Bloomington restaurant killer arrested in Oklahoma

The 47-year-old Texas man was arrested around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Screen Shot 2022-11-24 at 9.16.39 AM

Minnetonka woman, 23, ID'd as victim killed in Minneapolis crash

The fatal crash happened near the Minneapolis Convention Center on Nov. 21.


More than 100 geese, ducks found dead on partially frozen MN lake

The discovery was made in Waseca at the weekend.


After losing sponsor, advocates fear Minneapolis' Nice Ride could shut down

They are calling on the city to provide financial support till a new sponsor is found.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 3.32.46 PM

Colleen Lindstrom announces departure from MyTalk radio show

Lindstrom's last broadcast on the long-running show will be Dec. 9.