“School Suspends Teen for Wanting to Drive Her Drunk Friend Home”

by Walter Olson on October 16, 2013

Zero tolerance strikes again, this time at North Andover High School in Massachusetts [Jenny Erikson, CafeMom; Jason Bedrick, Cato]

{ 7 comments }

1 MF 10.16.13 at 6:57 pm

If I were a member of her volleyball team, I would get everyone together and tell the school board that we were going to forfeit every game they required her to sit out, and also demand that she be reinstated to team captain status. Maybe the entire school should force a sit-in or something. Outrageous, unaccountable idiots on the school board should be taught a lesson themselves, that zero tolerance only provides for zero-intelligent rulings.

2 Hugo S. Cunningham 10.17.13 at 11:04 am

I tend to share MF’s inclination toward the nuclear option in what sounds like a profoundly bone-headed and anti-moral travesty: the school committee, town government, and usual school booster groups ought to have something to say.

But before pushing the button, I would want people the student respected and trusted to talk to her in private (and do other basic corroboration), to make sure we have the whole story. Sometimes teenagers (and not just teenagers) get sucked into a public morality play before they have a chance to think it through, leading to general disillusion and heartache afterwards.

3 Robert 10.17.13 at 11:53 am

The title is a little misleading. She was suspended for being at a party that the Police had to break up, where alcohol was being served to minors. It’s not like she was outside on the street, waiting for her friend to come out. She went inside.

Two weeks ago, a 17-year-old Massachusetts girl got a text from a friend at a party saying she was too drunk to drive, and could she come get her? Erin Cox, who is an honor student by the way, went to the home, but the cops showed up before she could find her friend.

I don’t like zero-tolerance policies either, but she crossed the line when she went into that house, knowing there was dangerous illegal activity going on there.

4 MF 10.17.13 at 1:32 pm

It’s not like she was outside on the street, waiting for her friend to come out.

So was she supposed to wait outside and hope her friend was sober enough to figure out when she arrived and make it out? What if her friend was passed out inside? Should the drunk friend have waited outside, maybe passed out and been subsequently assaulted, or maybe cited for public intoxication since she wasn’t inside? No, it’s safer for the friend to wait inside, and the designated driver had to go inside to find her. That is *not* crossing the line. Just because there is “dangerous illegal activity going on,” it doesn’t mean she was participating. One must ACT, not just be there.

Now if the designated driver went inside and was hanging out for a while, and not going in solely for the purpose of finding her friend, that could be considered crossing the line (although not illegal).

5 DEM 10.17.13 at 3:09 pm

Robert you make it sound as if they were cooking crystal meth in the house. As it is, they were just drinking. And it is underage drinking that is illegal, not being in the same house with other minors who are drinking. That is especially so when one is in the house merely to extract a friend who has — quite responsibly, it appears — requested a sober ride home.

If that is “crossing the line,” then you are drawing it far too thin.

6 gitarcarver 10.17.13 at 3:20 pm

Robert,

With all due respect, I believe there is a huge difference between being at a place where illegal activity is taking place and being a part of that illegal activity.

If the mother of the friend was head of the PTO and had gone in to get her daughter, would you support the mother being removed from her position within the PTO?

Furthermore, there have been instances where kids have left other intoxicated kids at parties resulting in the death of the intoxicated kid because no one cared to look out for the intoxicated teen. Or what if someone was raping the friend? Would you want the sober teen to stand out on the sidewalk instead of helping her friend?

Finally, I am troubled by the school getting involved in this at all. No one has said the students at the party were representing the school. Clearly this was not a school sanctioned party. So why does the school get to say “we are reaching into the lives of kids outside of school grounds?” Given a judge said he had no jurisdiction, it bothers the heck put of me that the school punished a kid for a legal activity outside of school grounds and did so with no oversight or recourse by the student.

7 M. Kelly 10.28.13 at 1:06 pm

Things are not what they seem in this case. The initial story was totally one-sided and came from the the student’s mother and the (in)famous lawyer Wendy Murphy. The school could not legally disclose their side of the story, as the student is a minor. Read some more facts about the whole case, including the mother’s somewhat strange lawsuit here:

http://valleypatriot.com/erin-cox-mom-daughter-was-at-drinking-party-nearly-30-minutes-claims-punished-based-on-sex-in-restraining-order-request/

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