New Nevada Law Aims to Reduce Truancy Rates

By January 2, 2015Laws, Nevada, News

According to the Clark County School District in Nevada, there were more than 120,000 instances of truancy among students during the 2013-2014 school year. Because of the high absenteeism rates in Nevada, the state has approved a new law that will aim to decrease the number of truancies among students. This new law will come into effect on January 1, 2015.

This new law creates an incentive to keep students in school. If a student misses three or more days during a school year, his or her driver’s license will be delayed or suspended. Currently, students who repeatedly miss school only face administrative action by school officials.

Under the new law, students between the age of 14 and 18 who are applying for their first driver’s license must have written verification from their school stating that they meet the attendance requirements.

According to Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, students need an incentive to stay in school, and by connecting their driver’s license to their attendance rates, the state hopes that students will place higher value on their education.

Nevada is not alone in adopting this type of legislation. New Mexico has also proposed a similar bill that would aim to decrease truancy. Under New Mexico’s bill, if a student is truant more than ten times, a letter will be sent home to his or her parents. The parents have two weeks to contact the district to appeal. If, after 30 days, the parents do not appeal, a letter is automatically sent to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division. If a student has a driver’s license, it will be revoked; or, if a student is close to getting his or her license, it will be delayed.

Both the Nevada and New Mexico state senators acknowledge that some students may miss school because there are problems in their homes. Therefore, there are procedures in place to help educators determine if a student is absent because of hardships, such as abuse or neglect.

Truancy and Car Accidents

Not only does truancy diminish students’ potential to learn, there are also safety risks to take into consideration. In November 2003, a group of eleventh-graders decided to skip school after their first period class. The driver of one of the vehicles accelerated to more than 74 mph and failed to navigate a curve in the road. Losing control of the vehicle, the driver crashed the car into two trees, killing a female passenger.

The family of the deceased girl filed charges against the school, claiming that they failed to follow habitual truancy policies after their daughter regularly missed school. According to the lawsuit, the family of the deceased girl believes that if the school had stepped in and provided adequate disciplinary action, their daughter would be alive today.

If the new law proves to be constructive, there could be many benefits for students. With their licenses at stake, students may attend classes more regularly, and there would be more regulation on when students are out driving. Lower truancy rates will keep students safe and help prepare them for the future.


Bighorn Staff

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