Could new bills curb school truancies?
LANSING (AP) – Legislation in Lansing would take away driver’s licenses from students who are repeatedly absent from school.
Democratic Rep. Andy Schor of Lansing introduced two bills last week in the Republican-controlled state House to combat the problem of truancy. Driving is a privilege and one that young people treasure, making it a good way to motivate them to stay in school, Schor said.
“Children need to be in school learning,” Schor said in a statement. “If students aren’t in school, they can’t become educated and move on to become successful.”
The legislation would compel judges to notify the secretary of state of cases of truancy. The secretary of state would have to suspend the license of a juvenile found by a circuit court to be willfully and repeatedly absent from schools for six months.
In cases where juveniles haven’t yet been issued a license, they would be denied a license.
Michigan law requires students to be in school until age 18.
“Schools have truancy plans in place, and this will be another way to ensure that students are in the classrooms. Driving is a privilege, and there is no bigger incentive to most teens than being able to drive,” said Schor. “With state law now requiring students to be in school until age 18, we have one more tool to ensure that they are in school and learning.”
Michigan has a staged process of licensing drivers, first enacted in 1996, in which young people gradually gain privileges with age and experience. A young person can get a supervised learner’s permit at age 14 years, 9 months. The state says it issued about 116,000 such Level 1 licenses to beginning teen drivers in 2012.