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Why Poor Grades in High School May Revoke Your Driver's License

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Why Poor Grades in High School May Revoke Your Driver's License
For many public schools and states across the country, students failing to meet baseline educational requirements may not be able to drive. Learn more about the correlation between your grades, academic performance, and your driver's license.

Turning 16 in America means reaching the quintessential teen milestone: obtaining your driver鈥檚 license! However, what if your grades could prevent you from getting your driver鈥檚 license?

Indeed, many public high schools, school districts, and even states across the nation have implemented rules that require students to maintain a specific grade point average in order to legally obtain and carry a driver鈥檚 license.

In an effort to encourage better academic performance, public high schools are applying the 鈥渃arrot and stick鈥 philosophy to their student鈥檚 licenses 鈥 and the results have been intriguing.

This video reports on how Tennessee dealt with grade restrictions on student driver's licenses.

Driving up Student Success

Linking student grades with driving privileges is a relatively new practice and one of the most recent states to mandate student driving laws is West Virginia. According to The Intelligencer, the West Virginia Legislature recently amended its current teen driving law, granting the state鈥檚 Department of Motor Vehicles the permission and authority to revoke any student鈥檚 driver鈥檚 license due to poor grades or attendance. Although the law does not currently outline a minimum GPA that students must maintain to preserve their driving privileges, the revised law states that students must uphold 鈥渁dequate academic progress.鈥

Most high school students pursuing classes full-time will take eight credits each semester, and therefore, many West Virginia school leaders plan to report students with a GPA of 2.0 or lower to the state. Similarly, school officials are required to report students that have significant attendance issues. However, exceptions may be made regarding both the GPA and attendance regulations if a student is enrolled in a GED program, or if a student has 鈥渆xtenuating circumstances,鈥 such as a medical issue or other personally relevant situation.

If a student does not meet 鈥渁dequate academic progress,鈥 then state authorities have the power to revoke the license for 鈥渆ither a semester or a year, depending on how long it takes that student to show sufficient progress.鈥

While some may argue that the new legislation seems drastic, some educators believe that the change was critically needed. For example, as the program director for Wetzel County Schools in West Virginia asserts, the policy has been needed to combat the issues of poor grades and low attendance in their local schools. Along this line, the program director, 鈥淣oted in West Virginia, students who commit a Level 4 offense, those which would constitute a felony if the student were an adult, also have their licenses taken away鈥 鈥業t makes kids more accountable for their behavior as well as academics.鈥欌

This video offers a look at a student driver's lesson.

Schools Taking the Driver鈥檚 Wheel

Even though most states do not have legislation linking driving privileges with students鈥 academic performance, some schools have taken matters into their own hands. These public schools have created guidelines that impact the driving privileges students have in coming and leaving campus.

For example, (FCHS), located in Floyds Knobs, Indiana, prohibits students from driving to and from school if they fail to meet the FCHS attendance standards. Specifically, if a student acquires 10 absences, tardies, or early departures, then he or she may be subject to driving privilege restrictions.

In further evaluating the rules, if the incidents of tardies, absences, or early leaves negatively impact a student鈥檚 grades, then school leaders will implement intervention strategies:

  • First, the school must have a record of ongoing communication with parents to notify parents of a student鈥檚 absence issues.
  • Secondly, the parents and student must be sent an academic impact statement that clearly states the student鈥檚 performance issues and grades.
  • Lastly, the school must have a record of students鈥 missed class periods (due to absence or tardy issues).

As FCHS articulates, the attendance and performance policy, which was originally formulated by the Board of School Trustees, places the onus of school attendance and performance directly on students鈥 and guardians鈥 shoulders.

Additionally, according to the FCHS rules and statements of consequence, 鈥淭o maintain driving privileges on the Floyd Central campus, a student must be in good standing in the areas of academics (passing five classes) and attendance (fewer than ten absences for the semester).鈥

Expanding on these expectations, students permitted to drive to campus must also have a positive disciplinary record, free of any occurrences of suspension and/or excessive demerits, while 鈥渄riving privileges may also be revoked for excessive tardies to school or truancy from school.鈥

Public schools today are taking more proactive measures to improve student performance 鈥 which means more and more campuses may soon get behind the driving wheel.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @publicschoolreview

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