No driving for truant teens mulled for Vegas schools
LAS VEGAS (AP) – School administrators in a state facing the nation’s lowest student graduation rate are proposing a way to steer teens toward getting their diplomas: They want to take away the car keys.
The Las Vegas-based Clark County School Board has proposed a district plan tying annual driver license renewals for those under 18 to school records that include proof of high school enrollment, attendance and passing grades.
The minimum age for drivers in Nevada is 16; Fourteen-year-olds can apply for work permits.
Under the proposal, truancy citations would stop the Department of Motor Vehicles from issuing a driver’s license without intervention by a judge. Parents might also lose hunting and fishing licenses or be ordered to attend parenting classes if their children aren’t showing up at school.
The school board on Wednesday approved sending the proposal to Nevada lawmakers next year to consider as a law.
“There have to be accountability measures,” said board member Carolyn Edwards.
Officials said the proposal was in concept only, and details have to be worked out.
Some board members said they had concerns about the punitive measures of the proposed “Graduation Priority Act.”
Others said they want to do something to improve a state graduation rate variously reported at below 42 percent in an Education Week magazine survey and 67.4 percent by the Nevada state Department of Education.
Robert Cordner, a parent and grandparent, told the school board that the responsibility for making sure children go to school must rest with the parents, not the government. He asked whether the community wants school officials to determine who drives and who doesn’t.
District officials said the measures would supplement existing laws punishing parents of truants and determining work hours for youth. They said other states already have laws that deny dropouts driver’s licenses.
They said that exceptions might be made under the employment provision of the proposed legislation for teens with hardship circumstances.
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