CLOVER — The Clover school district has become the last district in York County to require its student drivers to take an Alive at 25 course to obtain a school parking permit.
The Clover school board last week approved the requirement for student parking privileges, which will begin in fall 2013. Any student who wants to park on campus must first complete Alive at 25, a driver intervention program that bridges the gap between what teens learn in driver’s education and what skills are needed to become good drivers.
The program, developed by the National Safety Council for drivers ages 15 to 24, aims to help drivers choose safe driving practices, to take responsibility for their behavior and to be aware of the driving hazards.
“We think it’s overdue here at the high school,” said Clover High School Principal Mark Hopkins. “But we are proud to know that with us getting on board, every high school in the county is now part of the Alive at 25 program.”
Hopkins and two law enforcement officers – Clover police Capt. David Dover and York County sheriff’s Lt. Lee Stoneburger – argued the need for the program before the school board voted to require it last week.
Said Hopkins, “I feel strongly we need to step up and do something to send a message to our students about the potential for accidents or problems when they’re behind the wheel.”
The York, Rock Hill and Fort Mill school districts have over the last couple years mandated the program for students to obtain a campus parking permit. Hopkins said he has been talking with others about the program, but there wasn’t enough time to begin the requirement this fall.
As in other York County districts, the program will be unwritten in part through a $10,500 grant from Continental Tire, making it possible for up to 300 Clover students to complete the course for free this fall.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get most of the students who are wanting to drive through this program at little or no cost,” Hopkins said. The regular cost of the course is $35 per student.
Hopkins said Clover High has lost three students in six years in different types of driving accidents, including a recent graduate. “We think it will make a difference for our students and for our community,” he said of the program.
Students who don’t take the class at Clover High would be able to participate in other courses offered locally, including a course taught the third Saturday of each month at the York County law enforcement training facility.
The 4 1/2-hour course, which focuses on safe driving behaviors, is taught by certified law enforcement officers.