Lakeland mom questions behind-the-wheel selfies, ads in school d - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland mom questions behind-the-wheel selfies, ads in school drivers ed manuals

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A page from the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville. A page from the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville.
A page from the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville. A page from the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville.
A page from the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville. A page from the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville.
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Selfies behind the wheel. It's a far cry from what makes a responsible driver. A Lakeland mother doesn't understand why a Polk County school is handing out so-called "drivers manuals" that promote such lax behavior.

“They're not worried about our children, apparently they're only worried about the dollar,” Melissa Mijka said about the “Florida Driver Handbook” issued by Lowest Price Traffic School out of Jacksonville.

Mijka could hardly believe her eyes when she started flipping through the driver handbook that her 15-year-old brought home from Kathleen High School on Wednesday.

“They’re all but bribing the kids to sit in the car and text and drive and play on Facebook and take selfies,” Mijka said.

Mijka said she's smart enough to know a book containing photos of teen drivers not buckled up and ads guaranteeing you'll pass the driver’s test on the first go-round did not come from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. So, she contacted 8 On Your Side to find out why the school would hand something like it out.

"If the company is using the school board as a platform to distribute these, they absolutely need to look at what they're handing our children," said Mijka.

The fact is the school board has looked at it. They even emailed 8 On Your Side photos to confirm we were talking about the same book. Julie Togba, a spokesperson for the Polk County School Board, said they thought the book was issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and that those ads in question were just ads. But, it turns out there is an official driver’s manual and the Polk County School Board should know that.

Last year, every school superintendent in the state was issued a letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spelling out that the book in question is in no way affiliated with them. 8 On Your Side wanted to make sure the Polk County School Board got a second look at the letter. That's when spokesperson Julie Togba said on the phone that since it was after 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, getting a response might not happen.

But, a response from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to our questions was clear. The content in the book handed out at Kathleen High is not the kind of message they send for "A Safer Florida."

Melissa Mijka thinks it's time the school gets on the right page. “The school needs to be a little more cognizant of what they're handing our kids,” she said.

The Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles provides the official Florida drivers handbook in person at their offices and it's also available on their website. The department spokesman said they are looking into this specific situation.

Meanwhile, 8 On Your Side is waiting on a response from the Polk County School Board.

We will check back to see whether the books are pulled from the school and if they follow up with students who took them home.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

Read the letter sent by the Florida Highway Safety Executive Director to Florida District School Superintendents: http://issuu.com/wflanewschannel8/docs/florida_district_school_superintend

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