Admin Explores Tying Driver’s Licenses to School Attendance

McKenzie Proehl, Editor-In-Chief

Would school attendance if it was tied to a student’s driver’s license?

It is a silent problem. Truancy (or absenteeism) isn’t usually at the forefront of a school’s societal mind because students typically don’t notice habitual “school skippers.” Students most likely wouldn’t even be able to tell which of their peers are consistently absent because chances are they have only seen them a couple of times in a whole school year.

Oregon has one of the worst records of student absences in the nation. In an article titled “Empty Desks” by Betsy Hammond she writes about the pressing problem that is chronic absenteeism in Oregon: “Last school year, nearly one in five Oregon students missed at least 10 percent of the school year, an investigation by The Oregonian shows. Those roughly 100,000 students were absent 3½ weeks of school or more – in most cases without raising alarms at their school.”

Taking a closer look at what the Centennial school district’s absentee rates look like, this is what was found:

Centennial High School had an absentee rate of 24.8% in 2015.

Centennial Middle School: 16.6%

Lynch Wood: 19.2%

Butler Creek: 11.4%

Lynch Meadows: 18.3%

Lynch View: 10.9%

Pleasant Valley: 11.4%

Source: “Empty Desks” by Betsy Hammond.

Truancy is a constant battle for school administrators and educators, however, one law may be able to help. Centennial is in the middle of formally adopting the practice of a law that states if a student has 15 or more unexcused absences their driver’s license can be suspended. The law was discovered last school year, but administration only just began the process of approving the use of it.

Right now the adoption of this law is in the very earliest of stages. A letter was recently drafted proposing the adoption of this law to upper school administrators, and driver’s license apprehensions for chronic absences will soon be put into practice.

This story will be updated as new details emerge.