Student Punished for Driving Drunk Friend Home

School says Erin Cox violated zero-tolerance policy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2013 6:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Erin Cox was just trying to be a good friend when, two weeks ago, she drove to a party to pick up a girl who had called Cox asking for a ride because she had been drinking. But just after Cox got there, the police arrived. According to CBS Boston, the 17-year-old didn't end up in hot water with police—though they initially lumped her with a group of underage kids who were told they may have to appear in court for drinking, she ultimately didn't have to, and an officer acknowledged, in writing, that she had not been drinking and didn't have any alcohol on her. But her Massachusetts high school reacted a little differently. North Andover High told the senior honor student she had violated the district's zero-tolerance alcohol and drug policy, and as a result, she lost her role as captain of the volleyball team and was suspended for five games.

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"If a kid asks for help from a friend, you don't want that kid to say 'I'm sorry I can’t help you. I might end up in trouble at school,'" says an attorney who is helping the Cox family appeal to the school to reverse the punishment; Erin's teammates' parents have also started a petition on her behalf. A lawyer for the school explains to the Boston Herald that once the police became involved, the school didn't have many options. But, as the Atlantic Wire notes, the school's policy doesn't make it clear which rule Cox was violating, and seems to give school officials an out. Though the policy is pretty clear that consuming alcohol is not OK, it says students linked to such activity may "be subject to investigation if that is deemed appropriate by the administration." (Read more zero tolerance stories.)

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