Driving program now required for parking pass

Tyler Peck, Tyler Peck

The district announced earlier this school year that there would be a mandatory two hour class for all  high school students looking to secure a parking pass for next year. 

These classes are free and sponsored by Street Smarts and the California Highway Patrol. All four San Ramon Valley Unified School District high schools are making these classes required for a parking pass. 

The program, called the Start Smart Driving Safety, is an opportunity for students and their parents to discuss safe driving. 

“The program was created to increase safety on and around our schools and it provides a great opportunity for teens and their parent or guardians to discuss traffic safety laws, obligations and responsibilities,” said Elizabeth Graswich, the district’s director of communications and community relations. 

Officers from the CHP will be discussing traffic avoidance techniques, meaning the collision causing factors, driver responsibilities, and seatbelt usage.

Parents or a guardian have to attend with students. This is so students and their parents can discuss the family expectations of being behind a wheel. 

Students are only required to go to one of these classes for their entire high school duration.

“I think this program is a good thing,” said parent Kevin Gormly. “The class requiring parents will make them feel more responsible for letting their kids drive to school.”

Graswich addressed student and parent concerns over whether the program would increase the price of parking passes. 

“This new program will not determine parking pass prices,” Graswich said. “These prices are determined by each school and are subject to change.” 

At this time there has not been a discussion about changing the price of the parking pass for next year, said Graswich.  

Students and their parents will have to sign in at the beginning of the class to prove that they attended. Once students complete the class, they will the eligible to buy a parking pass for the 2018-19 school year. 

Students can take the class even if they don’t have their license yet. 

“There is not a singular starting point that led to this program,” Graswich said. “It was developed as part of the district’s ongoing commitment to safety to and from schools within the San Ramon Valley.” 

Students have mixed feelings about the program.

 “I think it is a great idea,” said senior Dennis Fiorentinos.“I’m tired of everyone driving too fast in the parking lot.”

Cal has already hosted two classes in November. There are two more classes scheduled at Cal, on Feb. 13 and Feb. 20.

Students can attend these or one of the classes scheduled throughout the district this school year and during the summer.

“I understand what (the district is) trying to do, but I don’t feel it is necessary,” said junior Blake Cunningham. 

“Once you have your license you have already taken drivers education and had your permit for six months. I do not see how that correlates with whether or not you can get a parking permit.”