Politics

Michigan Lawmakers Want To Suspend Or Deny Truant Teens' Driver's Licenses

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Michigan State Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing) thinks he has the solution to school truancy. Schor plans to introduce House Bills 5208 and 5209 on Jan. 8, which would take away or deny driver's licenses to students who have a high number of absences from school.

"Driving is a privilege and one that young people treasure, making it a good way to motivate them to stay in school," Schor said.

The bills are not available online to read yet, and exact information on how many absences would constitute denial or the suspension of a student's driver's license has not been made public, reports MLive.

The legislation would begin with judges, who would be compelled to notify the secretary of state of cases of truancy. The secretary of state would have to complete the suspension of the license if the juvenile is found "willfully and repeatedly absent from schools for six months" by a circuit court, according to NY Daily News. If a juvenile does not have a license they would be denied one upon application.  

Rockford Superintendent Mike Shibler believes parents need to take the responsibility, too.

"A parent can do the same thing the proposed state legislation is trying to do ... It is really the responsibly of parents to make sure their kids get to school on time and are ready to learn, not be truant."

It would be ideal if parents could control the situation on their own. This is not always the case.

"Most parents want their kids in school but some have lost the authority in their homes and don’t know what to do," Jenison Superintendent Tom TenBrink said. "You can pass a law, but enforcement is where it is difficult."

TenBrink believes alternative methods need to be considered, including driver's licenses, to get teens to comply with mandatory school attendance until they are 18.