I can remember the dreaded horror of beginning my freshmen year by riding ‘the big yellow dog’, as high school students typically called it at the time. In my day, it was in no form cool to ride the bus to school. Fortunately, I had an older cousin attending and driving to the same high school, and I could catch a ride to school with her.
Driving to school was the cool thing to do. Now as a parent, I am shocked at the many privileges and freedoms that children, including myself, were and still are given. I was a decent child and would have never been brave enough to skip school. However, how do parents know that their child actually arrives at school? I can remember one case when the younger brother of a girl in my class stole his sister’s car and left school. Although there were not many major incidents taking place, skipping or leaving school was not a hard task to accomplish. Our local radio station did offer to help by broadcasting the names of any high school students that were absent. Parents could then listen for their child’s name to ensure that he/she was indeed at school. Other schools have also taken measures to inform parents of truancy and skipping. One county in Mississippi is taking advantage of today’s technology to keep parents informed. The schools are using email, cell phones, and text messages to update parents.
Some states have tried to encourage student responsibility by getting the schools involved in requirements for drivers’ licenses. West Virginia began the trend in 1988 with requiring teens to maintain a good standing attendance record at school. A student not attending school could not receive a drivers’ license. Other states, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, have now joined by either requiring students to stay in school or maintain a certain grade point average.
Some schools have created a list of rules and requirements for students who drive to school. If the rules are broken, the students lose driving privileges. Rules include being to school on time, refraining from going to the car during school hours, and registering the vehicle with the school.
I think that the rules and laws set by state legislators and schools are good. If a student is not responsible enough to attend school on time and keep his/her grades in good standing, then he/she should not be given another resource, driving a car, to aid in truancy and skipping classes.