The Midland Park Board of Education last week expressed reluctance to receive notice from the local police when students are involved in moving violations within the district. The sharing of student traffic offense information has been recommended by the Office of the Attorney General with the support of the Department of Education as part of the annual Memorandum of Agreement between Education and Law Enforcement Officials (MOA). After much discussion, trustees agreed that such information could help in counseling the students and be useful in guiding the driver’s education curriculum but worried that privacy issues may arise. Board members decided to ask the police department to redact the names of students involved in more mundane violations but to report the names of DWI offenders so the school could take an active role in the counseling process for those students. The reporting practice would apply to any “Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law or traffic violation committed within the school district by a student enrolled in Board wants minimal reporting of traffic violations the school district,” according to the MOA. While the state officials’ intent is for the information to be used to assess penalties, such as removing school parking privileges, as a deterrent to violating the law, Midland Park trustees saw it as an instructional tool. “We would use the information to identify a pattern of violations and spotlight it in our driver’s education classes. It would not be punitive; we would not single out other than to know who the youngsters are and try to help them,” said Midland Park Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Heebink. According to the joint correspondence from the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Education, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens (16-20 years of age). “The recommendations in the report (from the Teen Driver Study Commission), if enacted, may help stem the tide of teen driver crashes, injuries and fatalities in New Jersey, which last year claimed 60 teen lives. Revising the MOA to include the sharing of teen driver violation information among police departments and schools may be a significant step in reducing teen traffic crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities, Additionally, high school programs that establish teen driving policies, which tie violation of the GDL or a traffic law to loss of parking privilege for a set period of time, may be a strong deterrent for teens who are tempted to violate the law when behind-thewheel. Since the most dangerous time on the road for teens is between 3 and 6 p.m., immediately or shortly after school, followed by 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., when students also are commonly on the road, it makes sense for schools, law enforcement officials and the community to collaborate on programs and policies designed to increase student accountability for driving behavior and minimize their risk for harmful driv- Midland Park Matters November 11, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II, III & IV • Page 13 ing outcomes during these school-related hours,” the letter noted. The sharing initiative is only a recommendation and not binding at the local level. “While logistics prevent statewide modification of the uniform MOA for this purpose, school districts and local law enforcement officials are encouraged to consider revising their local MOAs to include a provision requiring police to notify schools when teens commit a GDL or moving violation,” the attorney general/commissioner of education letter said. Information about the teen driver study commission report and school-community traffic safety programs, policies and practices now in effect throughout the state may be obtained from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety at 609-633-9301 or at BUSHOVEN & COMPANY A Firm of Business Professionals Specializing in: • • • • • • • Tax Planning and Preparation New Business Set-ups and Consultation Bookkeeping Services Payroll and Sales Taxes Accounting and Auditing Management Advisory Services Financial Consultation CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS The Needlecraft School in Midland Park is seeking donations of toiletries, stuffing material, and funds for its “Adopta-Soldier” program. The children in the class make pillows for the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those pillows are shipped to the soldiers along with toiletries and other non-perishable items, such as unbreakable holiday tree ornaments, paperback books and Donations sought for pillows DVDs (new or used), handy wipes, powdered drinks, puzzles, holiday or greeting cards, stationery, hard candy, and gum. Anyone able to help is asked to contact Fawcett (201) 444-2976 or stop in at the school across from the Midland Park Post Office, 216-A Godwin Avenue, Midland Park. 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