Illinois can now revoke licenses/permits of high school dropouts

| 7/5/2006

In addition to losing out on a diploma, dropping out of high school in Illinois soon could cost teens their driver’s licenses or learner’s permits.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill June 24 that allows the state to take high school dropouts’ driving privileges away until they re-enroll or turn 18 years old. The new law, previously HB1463, also authorizes licenses to be revoked from students who miss 10 percent or more of the previous 180 school days without valid cause. Valid causes for absences include illness or a death in the family.

At least 11 states have similar rules. One of those states is Georgia where 11,422 driver’s licenses have been revoked for the 2005-2006 academic year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I think we all recognize the issue and the problem of dropout that we have in secondary education,” Sen. Frank Watson, R-Greenville, recently told The Quad-City Times. “This is an attempt to try to address that.”

Watson said dropouts are more likely to end up in jail, so these types of deterrents are needed.

According to The Times, more than 45,000 students were chronically truant in Illinois a year ago, and there were 85,000 dropouts.

The new law took effect July 1.