Educator says threatening kids' licenses will keep them in school - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Educator says threatening kids' licenses will keep them in school

By Morgan Thomas - email

HUDSON, TX (KTRE) - All teens want is the freedom to drive. But if Governor Perry has his way, they could lose that freedom if they don't stay in school.

"Everybody that's in high school is waiting, getting antsy about getting their driver's license so they have a little independence," Hudson 11th grader Carter Willmon said.

But, Perry wants to harness those feelings to keep teens on the path to graduation. He's proposed a new law that would mandate teens to prove their working toward their high school diploma or GED to get and keep their right to drive.

"It would make the kids that would normally think about dropping out, stay in school and do better and that way they could keep their license and get their independence," Hudson driver's education teacher Dannie Daniel said.

Right now, teens through age 17 have to show a verification of enrollment form to obtain their permit and get and renew their licences.

"When they turn 18, they can get their license if they're still in school or not," Daniel said.

Would Texas teens take the bait? Would they stay in school to keep their keys and their freedom? The teens we talked to seemed to think so.

Hudson 10th grader Cullen Hanks just got his license two days ago.

"I'm really excited," Hanks said. "It's a lot different I don't have to have to my parents in the car with me to drive. It's a lot more freedom."

His friend agrees.

"To me or most of my friends it would definitely be an incentive to staying in school," Carter Willmon said.

For teachers, it would mean bigger and better things for their students.

"All kids need to graduate," Daniel said. "Nowadays, used to a long time ago, maybe, you could get a job with a high school education, but high school education is a bare minimum."

Smarter drivers don't hurt either.

Perry says he will talk to the Texas Education Agency and Department of Public Safety to get the logistics in making the law happen.

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