By Will Cohen
In past years, Byram Hills always offered drivers education, commonly referred to as “drivers ed,” at our own school, making it very convenient for students to attend all of the necessary lecture and driving sessions. This spring, however, the course is no longer offered at Byram Hills and so students who wish to participate in the drivers ed program must travel to Greeley High School, located in the neighboring town of Chappaqua, to complete it. While only a 15 minute drive separates the two schools, it adds a degree of difficulty for parents who are trying to shuttle their kids around.
Drivers ed is a major commitment, with a 1.5 hour session of lecture and 1.5 hour session of driving per week, with little flexibility. If you miss a lecture, you must make it up as soon as you can, and missing more than four can lead to you not being able to finish. The same is said for driving, with it being even harder to reschedule. As there are only four people per car, it is tough to find a day in which you can make up a missed driving session. I can also say from personal experience that it is very difficult to meet all of the drivers ed requirements while being involved with a sport that practices or plays on a daily basis. For most people, drivers ed is a desirable step so that they can get their full licenses before they turn 18. A full license enables its holder to drive any time of the day, while a juniors license restricts driving hours from 5 AM to 9 PM. It is possible to take a one time, 5 hour course to obtain your junior license (without the full drivers ed program).
For the students who are taking drivers ed at Greeley currently, there is a bus to shuttle students after school so they can get to their sessions. A BHHS sophomore who is currently in drivers ed said that “[drivers ed] takes up a lot of time generally, and that is only amplified by the fact that students and parents have to make the 15 minute drive to get there in the first place. I hope that they are able to bring it back for the students next year.”
According to Mrs. Cunningham, one of the assistant principals, the reason the program is not currently being hosted at Byram Hills is because of inconsistencies in staffing on the part of PAS Auto. Put simply, BHHS and PAS Auto School have a contract that outlines certain standards that PAS must adhere to. PAS did not meet the current standards, and so New York State did not allow the driving school to be hosted here. Byram Hills administration is hopeful that PAS auto can return in the future, but for that to happen, PAS has to align with the contractual agreement shared with Byram Hills.