By Vicky Livesay
Getting that drivers license is a rite of passage into teenhood. Most of us remember getting our license and learning to drive. For parents, watching our teens learn to drive is a mixed feeling.
Its a relief our days of taxi service are ending but never-ending terror every time our teen pulls out of the driveway knowing the dangers that are lurking.
At the high school, we are right there with you. We are always excited for them when they show off their new license to us. But when we hear one of our students has had an accident, everyone in the building asks the same question Are they alright?
Many people dont realize that getting and keeping a license requires a great deal of responsibility from students. Before going to the DMV for that learners permit, students must pick up a certificate from the office saying both attendance and academic progress are satisfactory.
In other words, students should not only have good attendance but also be passing at least half of their classes. The school can refuse to issue that certificate if these requirements are not met which means no learners permit.
There are also requirements for keeping that license. Tennessee Code Annotated, which details the laws of Tennessee, says students must continue to meet the above requirement.
At the end of each semester, we check through grades and attendance to see who is eligible to keep their license and who must have their license revoked. Unfortunately, there is always a list of students who will lose their license based on their attendance, grades, or both attendance and grades.
Many of our students drive to school. There are regulations for this privilege, also. First, all student vehicles must be registered with the school. There is a $15 registration fee and the registration tag must be displayed in the car at all times.
Students are assigned a parking space and must park in that space. When arriving at school, students are expected to exit their vehicle and not return to it during the course of the day unless they have received permission from a principal.
Students are not allowed to leave campus once they arrive unless checked out through the office. And no, they cant check themselves out just because they drive. This still requires a parent to either come to school or speak with a principal.
In addition to the above rules, students are also expected to drive in a safe manner on school grounds and on the roads around the school just as we would hope they drive no matter where they are.
If students violate any of these regulations, they may forfeit the privilege of driving to school. Students should also keep in mind vehicles are subject to search under any reasonable suspicion they contains drugs, weapons, or stolen goods.
Wow. Its a lot to remember. But, its also a good introduction to the adult world. The opportunity to drive is a step into the world of adults and it carries the both the joys and consequences adult drivers live with every day. So, encourage your teen to be a safe and responsible driver AND student since these things are linked. As long as they can demonstrate responsibility, they should be driving for years to come.