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Nevada Bill Proposes Driver's License Suspension For Low-Performing Students

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First Posted: 03/16/11 01:30 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:40 PM ET

Lawmakers in Nevada considered a bill on Monday that would allow the state to suspend a student's driver's license for poor academic performance.

Clark County School Board proposed Assembly Bill 64 to the Assembly Education Committee as a way to boost their district's low graduation rate -- a meager 63.8 percent, according to a Las Vegas Sun article.

Enforcing school attendance and academic performance by withholding a student's driver's license is not a new idea. Twenty-seven states have laws in place that allow a student's driving privileges to be suspended due to poor behavior at school. Five of the 27 specify that students must uphold satisfactory progress academically.

In states where such legislation hasn't been passed, some schools have taken on the responsibility themselves. Students at one Indiana high school, for example, may have their driving privileges on school property suspended for low academic performance or truancy.

However, one point of contention arises regarding states whose compulsory school age requirements are below 18 years old. Students who live in states that allow 16- and 17-year-olds to leave high school may choose to drop out and keep their driver's license instead of staying in school and forfeiting it for truancy or poor grades.

In addition to suspending student's driving privileges, A.B. 64 includes more drastic measures. The bill proposed punishing the parents of a student for their child's underachievement. Parents could be required to do up to 16 hours of community service, and their hunting and fishing licenses would be subject to suspension for the remainder of the open season.

Such measures could "alienate the very parents our schools are trying to reach," Dotty Merrill, a lobbyist for the Nevada Association of School Boards, told a Las Vegas Review Journal reporter.

No action on A.B. 64 was taken on Monday. The bill, which will be considered at a later date, requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

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Filed by Victoria Fine  |