Erin Cox: Star Student Disciplined by School for Drunk Friend Pickup

Tuesday, 15 Oct 2013 01:31 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Erin Cox, an honors student and star volleyball player at her Massachusetts high school, was demoted as captain of the team and suspended five games earlier this month all because she tried to give a drunk friend a safe ride home from a party.

Cox, 17, claims she got a text message one night a few weeks ago from a friend who'd been drinking at a party and needed a ride home. Cox said she went to the party and was inside searching for her friend when police showed up and arrested a dozen underage drinkers.

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Officers gave Cox a court summons even after establishing that she was not intoxicated and was not in possession of alcohol, the Boston Herald reported.

North Andover High School, arguing that she was in violation of the district's zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy, immediately took disciplinary action against Cox, stripping her of her volleyball captain's title and suspending her for five games.

But Cox technically did nothing wrong and it's not clear what rules she supposedly violated.

The school's athletic handbook states that, "Students should be aware that if they are part of a group that is engaged in activities contrary to school rules, they may come under suspicion and be subject to investigation if that is deemed appropriate by the administration."

Cox's mother Eleanor filed a lawsuit Friday to reverse the school's punishment but a judge ruled that the court does not have jurisdiction over school matters, according to CBS Boston.

"I just feel very defeated. When you're in high school you’re supposed to stay perfect and be perfect, but everyone makes mistakes," Cox told the Herald. "I wasn’t drinking. And 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 hurting herself or getting in the car with someone else who was drinking. I’d give her a ride home."

Wendy Murphy, an attorney who is trying to help get the school's decision reversed, worries that Cox's punishment is going to deter kids from doing the right thing in the future.

"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,'" she told CBS Boston.

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