State bill to keep drivers under 18 off phones is OK'd
Copley News Service
The Calif. state Senate moved May 25 to stop teens from talking on cell phones while driving, but separate legislation that would place restrictions on adult drivers remained stalled.
In a flurry of activity, the Senate also passed a pair of other bills aimed at high schoolers.
If those measures become law, students will have to pass parenting classes and athletes will have to submit to random drug testing to play on teams.
The teen driving bill, which passed on a bipartisan 24-11 vote, would bar motorists younger than 18 from using cell phones unless there's an emergency.
The author of the bill, Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey, said teens do not have the experience to drive while gossiping, setting up dates or checking in at home.
A recent California Highway Patrol review blamed cell phone use for the largest number of accidents attributed to inattentive driving, but eating and fiddling with the stereo followed closely as distractions.
Teens younger than 18 would be barred from using any cell phone - hands-free or not - under Bowen's legislation. The first violation would carry a $35 fine, about the monthly cost of a basic cell phone service plan. Fines would grow steeper with each violation. Penalties would include adding points to driving records that could boost insurance premiums and requiring community service.
Students Against Destructive Decisions Chooses Jacqueline Hackett of Harleysville, Pennsylvania to Represent Organization Nationally
SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), a national school based peer-to-peer education and prevention organization, announced on May 25 that Jacqueline Hackett of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, has been named its National Student of the Year for the 2004-2005 school year.
Jacqueline will be the national student spokesperson for the organization, which has more than 10,000 chapters and millions of members in schools nationwide, taking on issues of teenage drinking and other drug use, as well as being an active participant in the national debate over prevention policies aimed at teens. Her responsibilities also include serving a one-year term on SADD's national board of directors.
Jacqueline has been a member of SADD since 1998, and is currently Pennsylvania's SADD Student of the Year, a member of SADD's National Student Leadership Council and Executive Committee, and since 2001 the leader of Pennsylvanians Against Underage Drinking Youth Committee.
In February, Jacqueline testified on behalf of SADD before the Congressional Subcommittee on Education Reform at a hearing on "Preventing Underage Drinking: What Works?"
She plans to attend George Washington University in the fall.
Jacqueline will begin her term as the National Student of the Year during SADD's annual conference in July in St. Louis, Missouri.
SADD is a national student-based organization with chapters in thousands of middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country. Its mission is to provide students with prevention and intervention tools to effectively address such issues as underage drinking, drug use, impaired driving, teen violence, and suicide.
More information on SADD can be found at http://www.sadd.org.
Experts Say Online Bullying Emerging As Harrassment Trend
What used to be limited to the playground and schoolyard is now making its way into homes.
School officials in Fort Smith, Ark. told television station KHBS that some students are taking the age-old practice of bullying to the Internet.
"Cyberbullying" is the latest trend in childhood harassment, according to experts. Police said the method of harassment involves threats made in chat rooms and through instant messaging.
Fort Smith school administrator Randy Bridges has dealt with several students who made Internet threats. He said the ability to be anonymous can fuel behaviors that many students wouldn't exhibit publicly.
One month ago, Fort Smith school officials found out how serious Internet threats can be when a Southside High School student sent instant messages threatening to shoot another student.
Under a fake screen name she wrote: "I am shooting your girlfriend."
Fort Smith police later arrested the girl who made the online threats. Police spokesman Jarrard Copeland said that even though the girl told them that she had no intention of hurting another student, authorities still felt compelled to act.
Authorities said parents should follow several guidelines to protect children from online bullying:
1. If a child receives a threatening Internet message, he or she should not open it or reply.
2. If a child is being bullied online, he or she should tell someone and call police.
3. Parents should use special software to keep a close eye on what their children are doing online.
4. The bully wants another child to be upset. Parents should encourage their children not to fall into the bully's trap.
AAA Honors Eight Safety Patrollers Who Saved Fellow Students' Lives
AAA awarded its highest national safety honor - "The Lifesaving Medal Award" - to eight school safety patrollers whose heroic, split-second decisions saved their school mates from life-threatening danger. This marks AAA's 55th consecutive year honoring children across the United States who save lives as part of AAA's signature pedestrian safety program.
The national pedestrian death rate per 100,000 for children aged 5-14 has fallen by 93 percent since 1935, the first year records were kept. AAA safety experts credit the 84-year-old School Safety Patrol Program with making a strong contribution to this significant improvement.
Two of the honorees, Andrew Deem, age 11, and John Hickey, age 10, from Bristow Run Elementary in Bristow, Va., are shining examples of safety patrollers' courage and dedication. On the afternoon of October 14, 2003, Andrew saw a two-year-old boy and his mother pushing a stroller with the boy's younger brother inside. When the boy suddenly ran from his mother into the busy street, Andrew grabbed the toddler while stopping the mother from running out into the street after her child. John, meanwhile, was at his patrol station and witnessed the event with Andrew. When the mother ran after her toddler, the stroller that she left behind with the younger brother began rolling into the street. John ran after the stroller, stopping it just as an SUV grazed his foot.
AAA started the national school safety patrol in 1920. Today, the AAA School Safety Patrol is an organization of 500,000 boys and girls nationwide in 50,000 schools. Many famous Americans have been safety patrollers, including former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Senator John Warner of Virginia, three current members of the U.S. Supreme Court, 21 astronauts and six Olympic gold medalists. The program has a long history of helping young people become leaders by teaching discipline, responsibility, and concern for others.
Back to top