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Truant students could lose their driver's licenses under bill in state House

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Students who repeatedly skip school could lose a shot at a driver's license under a new bill.

A state lawmaker says the threat of losing driving privileges would be a good way to discourage kids from skipping school.

Families who receive state aid can lose their benefitsif their child repeatedly skips school. It’s a policy some legislators want to codify in law.

Democratic State Rep. Andy Schor says the policy unjustly punishes a whole family. Instead, he’s introduced a bill that would take away a truant child’s driving privileges.

“I think we should be saying, you know, if you’re going to skip school then you have a penalty. It’s not a penalty for your family and they lose their benefits, it’s a penalty on you,” Schor said.

Schor says he and others came up with the idea more than a decade ago when he worked at the U.S. Department of Education. But back then, students in Michigan were only required by law to go to school until they were 16 years old. Now, they have to stay in school until they’re 18.

“You’re so excited to get your driver’s license, or at least, most kids are so excited to get their driver’s license; it’s a motivating thing to say if you’re skipping school than you don’t have that option,” he said.

Schor’s bills (House Bill 5208 and 5209) have bi-partisan support.

The legislation would compel judges to notify the secretary of state if a student is absent from school for six months. The secretary of state would then be required to suspend the license. Or if a student didn't have a license yet, an application for one would be denied.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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