Lifeguards Wanted: Swimming Skills Unnecessary

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The Phoenix Aquatics Department noticed that 90% of the youths swimming in public pools are Black or Hispanic but the lifeguards are white youths from the wealthier part of town. As a result, the city is looking to fill lifeguard positions with more minorities whether they have swimming skills or not. The city will train them as they work in the positions.

The new minority trainees can’t swim well but they have coaches. I guess parents should keep their fingers crossed when they send their children off to the pools.

“Honestly, I have a little bit a fear of the water, and I wanted to overcome that fear,” says high school junior Jesus Jimenez. He likes the idea of lifeguarding though.

Hiring lifeguards who are afraid of the water sounds like a risky proposition.

Some of the new lifeguards do speak Spanish. I don’t know how that substitutes for swimming skills but it makes sense to the Phoenix Aquatics Department.

Full story at NPR

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