There are days when I wonder just what goes through the liberal mind of a high school teacher. Are they parents outside the classroom or are they phantom creatures that fold up into their desks at night only to emerge the next day with a new rant to be forced on the captive audience of young minds they have for at least six hours a day!
When I was a teenager, learning to drive was still part of the high school curriculum. A whole semester dedicated to Driver’s Education including a simulator and the gory video “Red Asphalt” which guaranteed to scare the pants off even the most rebellious kid in the class! We went home each day praying our parents had some errand they had to run so that we could wheedle them into letting us get into the driver’s seat and then feeling we were so adult for the five minutes it took to drive to the quickie mart. There was no question; parents’ allowing us to take their place at the wheel was a privilege and we respected it as such.
Fast-forward 30 years. I am teaching my soon to be 16-year-old son to drive. Cutbacks over the years in the schools have made it where Drivers Education is no longer part of the curriculum. Student drivers now have to spend six hours with an instructor and the parent teaches the rest. Well and good if the parent there teaches it; definitely more thought will be going into allowing the student driver behind the wheel. Six hours of instruction does not a driver make.
As I explain to my child, why I do not want him to drive a particular road at this time of the day because of traffic and glare, my moody 15-year-old sulks and complains about how unfair I am for not allowing him to exercise his God given “right to drive”. Wait, right to what? I explain to him that it is not his right to drive my car; it is a privilege that I give to him based on trust and my estimation of his experience. When I say, “no, not this time”, there is a reason for it.
Now is when I hear about how Mr. Silvey has made a particular rant in economics class when the students should be learning about the aforementioned subject about how driving is a RIGHT and not a PRIVILEGE! That every person has the RIGHT to drive almost as if that was written as one of the amendments of the Constitution! In fact, my son even told me it was! Sure, back when the American Constitution was written, there were thousands of cars on the road and an equal number of disrespectful teens waiting to drive them! Did Mr. Silvey re-write the Constitution too?
Trying not to sound like the tyrant that my son thinks I am right now, I gently try to explain that driving IS a right! I agree 100 percent that all of us have a right to exercise this right. However, not until it is something we can safely handle and until such time that the parent/ teacher feels that the child/ student is skilled enough to responsibly handle being behind the wheel of a 3000 metal monster unsupervised and that student/child is a licensed driver AND at least the age of 18, it is a PRIVILEGE!
Now, as far as Mr. Silvey is concerned, I think I remember hearing that he has a 10-year-old boy. I would love to be a fly on the wall when he is trying to teach his son to drive and has to deal with the frustration of a teacher over stepping the boundaries of his field and filling his son’s head with clutter about driving rights as opposed to privileges! I hope that he will think back to the parents who suffered backlash with their teen drivers because of him veering from the subject he was supposed to be teaching!
By guest writer Vivienne Durand