A high school senior has been suspended for playing designated driver for a drunken friend, and many critics are saying that she was unjustly punished for simply doing the right thing.
North Andover High School senior Erin Cox is no longer captain of the volleyball team and has been suspended from playing five games after an incident two weeks ago involving police. She received a call from a friend at a party who was too drunk to drive, and went to pick the student up. Police arrived at the same time, and arrested several students for underage drinking and possession of alcohol.
They cleared Cox after they determined she had not been drinking.
Once the high school got word of the incident, they decided to punish the honor student for violating their strict policy against drug and alcohol use.
“She’s very fragile and I’m worried about her. Very worried about her. She didn’t do anything wrong,” Erin’s mother told WBZ-TV. “She did what she thought was right, and I’m very proud of her.”
The family has hired a lawyer, and are hoping to overturn the school’s decision with a lawsuit. The school’s lawyer said that the court does not have jurisdiction over school decisions, and a judge seemed to agree.
Still, Cox has been receiving lots of public support for her actions.
“I felt really bad for Erin because she honestly just wanted to help her friend,” said one of Cox’s neighbors. “In my eyes, Erin’s a hero and I think she should be rewarded for doing the right thing which I do believe she did, rather than being suspended and punished.”
The neighbor described Cox as a “nice and caring person” who never gets in trouble.
“That’s exactly why she went to that party to help someone else out. I know she loves volleyball and I would watch her playing with her sister Emily outside or her dad every day getting better. It’s sad to see that being taken away from her,” she continued.
She also fears that the school is setting a dangerous example for students who try to do the right thing.
“I do think it sets a bad example, drinking and driving is not OK and every chance that people get to help out a friend in a situation like that, absolutely should. It’s embarrassing that our school is basically saying ‘we don’t care if you drink and drive.’ I hope that students won’t be afraid to help out a friend after all this and realize that the school is making a horrible decision. Erin’s decision could have saved this friends life, and you can save one too if you make that step to help out a friend,” the neighbor continued.
“It doesn’t make me proud to be an alumni,” she said.
Erin Cox told the Boston Herald that she believes she did the right thing, regardless of the school’s decision.
“I felt like going to get her was the right thing to do. Saving her from getting in the car when she was intoxicated and hurt herself or getting in the car with someone else who was drinking, I’d give her a ride home,” she said.
Do you think that Erin Cox should have been suspended for picking up her drunk friend? Should more students follow her example, or should they report their friends to the police in such situations instead?