W. Virginia Bill Would Yank Your Driver's License if Your Kid Misses Too Much School
Filed under: In The News
"Look at this note from school! Ten unexcused absences?! That tears it! Don't even think about going out with your friends this weekend. You just lost your driving privileges, Bucko!"
Actually, this is not the sound of you talking to your kids. It could be the sound of the state talking to you.
That is, if you happen to live in West Virginia.
The Parkersville News and Sentinel reports State Sen. Erik Wells has introduced a bill to yank your driver's license if your kid misses 10 or more days of school. You'd get a warning after the fifth unexcused absence.
The Democrat tells the News and Sentinel he knows this bill will go over about as well as Rush Limbaugh in a pole-vaulting contest. However, he wants to make a point.
"I think responsibility has to start somewhere, and it is the parents' responsibility as parents to put the welfare of their child first, and one of those aspects is to get the child to school," Wells tells the newspaper.
He adds perpetually absent kids should also lose their ability to participate in band, play sports or enjoy other extracurricular activities.
"There needs to be some consequences," Wells tells the News and Sentinel.
Yeah, maybe. But West Virginia's General Assembly has a lot of other issues nipping at its heels, the newspaper reports, including a bill adding five to 10 minutes to the school day. Lawmakers say this, too, will impress upon parents the importance of education.
All told, lawmakers have 2,000 bills staring at them this legislative session. Only 200, on average, become law. Wells tells the News and Sentinel he's not optimistic about his bill passing.
Nonetheless, he adds, he hopes his effort will spark discussion. It already has. The News and Sentinel reports West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee supports the bill.
"I think that one of the things a parent owes to a child that they bring into this world is to provide an environment to make sure they're in school," Wells tells the News and Sentinel. "I just have a hard time, as a parent, seeing how a parent would neglect their child, and I do think it's neglect ... You are hampering that child's ability to succeed in life by keeping them out of school and that's a disservice to that child."
Bills don't always have to be signed into law to be effective, Wells tells the News and Sentinel. Sometimes it's enough that legislation -- even futile legislation -- is introduced to let people know that lawmakers are doing something.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.