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Teen Unjustly Punished by School for Helping Drunken Friend Home

Honor student charged with violating school’s zero-tolerance policy against alcohol use—despite being sober
 
 
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North Andover High in Boston has come under harsh criticism for stripping an outstanding student of her captain position all because she did the right thing in agreeing to pick up a friend from a party who was too intoxicated to drive home.

The incident began after Boston honor student, Erin Cox received a call from a friend at a party who was obviously drunk.  Subsequently the 17-year-old drove there to pick up her friend to ensure she would get home safely.  However, as she arrived, police showed up arresting a dozen kids for underage drinking and warning 15 others—including Cox—that they would receive a summons for drinking, Boston Herald reported.

Following the incident, her school decided to punish Erin for her good deed – by demoting her from her position as captain of the volleyball team and suspending her for five games for violating their zero drug and alcohol policy.  This was despite the fact that Erin had not been drinking and that Boxford police Office Brian Neely vouched for her sobriety in writing.

In response, thousands have taken to social media on reddit and facebook to express their outrage over the school's action:

One angry man griped on facebook: “She did what we teach our kids to do!! Friends don’t let friends drive drunk!’  Others have argued that Cox should be praised for her efforts rather than condemned.

In protest, Cox's family filed a lawsuit against the school in an effort to reverse its decision, but a judge ruled it did not have jurisdiction over the matter. 

Consequently, Cox’s attorney said in a statement that the family is now planning to file formal legal action against the school district, “in the hope that officials there will think twice before imposing sanctions on any student whose only offense involves trying to prevent yet another drunk-driving tragedy,” CNN reported.

The schools’ decision sends a clear and arbitrary message to teenagers about drink-drinking – don’t help your friends.

Still, Cox wouldn’t have done it any differently, telling the Boston Herald that while she feels "defeated" she would have done it again because “it was the right thing,” she said.

 

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.

 

 
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