I’m sure at one point or another, every West Virginia parent has pulled their kid aside and given them a This is What Happens If You Don’t Do Well in High School lecture. The lecture includes but is not limited to the threat of not getting into a good college and the threat of not getting scholarship money for said good college if grades and attendance aren’t on par during those four years of high school.
Now, let your friendly West Virginia criminal defense lawyer give you a little tidbit that might actually scare your high school student into hitting the books and making it to class on time: In West Virginia, there is absolutely a law that gives the Division of Motor Vehicles the authority to suspend your teenager’s license if their grades and/or attendance are poor. Yes, you read that correctly: In West Virginia, a high school student can receive a license suspension for not making adequate academic progress – and not just for a couple of weeks. We’re talking a semester or a year of no driving privileges (or however long it takes to make that adequate progress).
The law was first passed in 1988 to combat what the state deemed to be a truancy problem. The next year, the high school dropout rate dropped by a third. Then in 2009, the West Virginia Legislature amended the measure – known as the No Pass, No Drive law – to include academic achievement, tying grades to the privilege of driving. A recent article in Public School Review reported that folks in the academic world are praising such measures – and that some districts are taking matters into their own hands and creating their own rules regarding grades and their students’ ability to drive. As a West Virginia criminal defense lawyer, though, 3I does have some concerns about the law, which seems to be highly discretionary.
Regardless, I wanted to make sure parents of West Virginia high school students were aware of the law. While I hope it helps in your This is What Happens If You Don’t Do Well in High School lecture, I hope that’s where your experience with it ends. However, if Johnny or Jane doesn’t heed your lecture, and your family has to deal with the No Pass, No Drive law, feel free to give me a call. I’d be happy to help you understand the law (and your options regarding it) in more detail.