By Charlie De Mar

(CBS) – The automotive club at Niles West High School has made a sudden, permanent stop.

The program allows students who might not be the best pupils to excel in an activity outside the classroom.

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar was at the Niles Township School board meeting Tuesday night as parents sounded off.

Building and maintaining cars takes training and a whole lot of passion. The auto club allows students to build and work on a racecar throughout the year while building real-life skills.

At the end of the year, students are allowed to drive the car on a drag strip.

Parents say the experience has been life-changing for their children.

“It gives them a whole new look in the world, not just through an academic focus, but also through a vocational focus,” parent Stephen Herczeg says.

But District 219 recently made an executive decision to cut the program, saying the liability is just too high — forever putting the brakes on the program.

For students in the program, getting to race the car was incentive to bring their grades up and exposure to a future profession.

“I’m going to miss this program, and I’m really sad to see that it’s going,” Daniel Joseph Liston says.

A spokesperson for District 219 says their insurance provider strongly urged against allowing students racing cars.


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