Now a statewide law will aim to reduce those numbers. Teens who continually skip school will face delay or suspension of their driver’s license, under a new law that becomes effective Jan. 1.
At present, a student who misses school three or more times during a school year is labeled a habitual truant and can face administrative actions by school officials.
Now a student between 14 and 18 years old must when applying for a driver’s license from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, must submit a letter from school officials that he or she has met the attendance requirements.
The new law, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, says a student declared a habitual truant will have his driver’s license suspended 30 days to six months.
Those applying for the first time license will have to wait 30 days before an application can be submitted.
Ford, elected to be minority leader in the Senate in 2015, says this is one way to encourage students to remain in school. A former educator, Ford said there are four ways to improve schools – money, teachers, parents and incentives for students.
He called it a “great motivator” since most students want to get a driver’s license. And the school districts supported his bill.
It’s no secret, said Ford that Clark County has a high dropout rate. And he hopes this new law will benefit all students. This has worked in other states, he said.
Parents will be able to appeal to school officials and will be granted a hearing to challenge the designation of their child as a habitual truant. If a hardship exists, school officials can waive the penalty.
And if the student has a high school diploma or completed a general education development certificate, the law does not apply.
A second offense of a teen missing school results in a suspension of the license from 60 days to one year. And there is a 60 day delay for a student seeking a first time driver’s license.
The law says the Motor Vehicle Department must report the suspensions to the individual’s insurance company but this information cannot be used for rating or underwriting purposes in setting the policy rates.