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Teens Grades to be Tied to Drivers Licenses

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WILSON — Teenagers who don't keep their grades up can kiss their driving privileges goodbye. Beginning next month, teens who want their license or permit will have to prove they're making the grade at school.

Educators say they are cheering the move, but dreading the paperwork.

Most teens can't wait to drive.

"I could take my friends and we could go to play basketball or got to the movies or just to the mall and ride around," future driver Jordy Morgan said.

But getting a driver's license is about to get tougher for students statewide. Starting next month, teenagers applying for their licenses or permits have to prove they're doing their class work if they want to drive. If a student drops out or flunks one third of his classes, the state can deny or revoke his license.

The DMV enforces the law, but the information comes from local schools. That means extra responsibility for educators without extra money or manpower.

Principals such as Bill Williamson say the law is a great incentive for students, but a burden for school leaders. At Wilson Hunt High School, up to 300 students will ask for approval every year.

"A license is a great motivator," says Williamson. "We're under a lot of stress and pressure right now with the a-b-c's and there's a lot of things on our plate, and I believe that when you add something you need to take something away."

As word of the new law gets around, some teens might not like it, but lawmakers say the lure of a license is one of the best ways to keep today's kids in the classroom.

Lawmakers have included a few provisions for students who have hardships at home and can't stay in school. Those cases also require approval from school leaders.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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