PASSING THE TORCH
Perhaps the best approach to the future of the U.S. is to look to who will actually inherit the choices made today. Responsible journalism, the lack of which was a major criticism across the aisle in this election, is essential to governing a populace as diverse, and now divided, as our country is today. Kelsie Dougherty 's opinion piece, thoroughly and gracefully researched with a thoughtful and pressing request for change, reminds us that the core principles of evolution and change at the hands of the populace's needs, is what defines the U.S. Kayla Fox's photography reminds us that no matter what banners we root for, we fall under the same flag.
(Originally published in THe PHantom Voice)
the rights of a full license
by Kelsie Dougherty
In New York State, to legally drive you must be 17. But if you have the ability to take your road test and pass at the age of 16, you are only granted a Junior’s license. The Junior’s License only allows the person to drive to work and a school that they pay to attend. Those unfortunate students who go to a public school cannot drive there, even if they have displayed their adequate abilities to drive a vehicle by passing their road test.
I am among those unfortunate students. I passed my road test at 16 in August, yet my 17th birthday is at the end of November. So I still have to walk to school, while I watch my friends pass me on the roads as they were lucky enough to be born earlier in the year.
In many states across the country, the legal driving age is 16. In New Hampshire, you do not even need to take a permit test. At the age of 15 and a half, those people can just start learning to drive without any means of identification. And by 16, they could already register for their road test, and begin driving legally. In North Carolina, teenagers can enroll in Driver Education classes by age 14 and a half. And once again, they can take their road test and receive a full license by 16. The same goes for California, Texas, and many other states across the country. How is New York any different?
All across the nation, students are driving to their public schools, arriving on time, and showing up to class early. They are able to get extra sleep and be awake and alert for their classes to begin. Whereas, in the state of New York, those 16 year old students are forced to leave their houses earlier in order to walk to school. Those certified drivers have to walk or wake up their parents for a ride to arrive to school on time. Many cannot even have time to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Plenty of schools across the state, including my own, do not include a bussing system, so students are left to find means of getting to school by themselves.
After weeks of this unfair way of arriving to school, New York State students with Junior’s Licenses are so frustrated that they find themselves asking this question: should I risk breaking the law and drive to school with my Junior’s License? The idea is not too foreign, as they have already passed their road test and displayed their satisfactory capabilities in operating a motor vehicle. But this action is technically illegal, so if pulled over, these teenagers could be faced with fines or even license suspension for up to 60 days. But some students have no other option. They could be at a distance too far from the school to walk, have no one to drive them, and no bus offered. America’s youth needs to get an education and a driving law should not prevent them from receiving the best schooling they can. This is why the age to get a full license in the state of New York should be changed to 16 year old. Students should not have to break the law in order to get an education.