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Erin Cox, Zero tolerance and No Common Sense

Zero tolerance policy rules rear their ugly head again, making it impossible for otherwise rational, intelligent, school administrators to evaluate situations and make good choices. Under the guise of “zero tolerance” we’ve had kids get in trouble for fashioning a Pop Tart into a gun, using their finger to “shoot” someone and bringing a butter knife to school. Add to the list helping out an intoxicated friend. Over the weekend a Massachusetts high school senior, Erin Cox, went to a party and picked up an intoxicated friend to ensure the friend would not drive home from the party drunk. But what do school administrators do? Apparently, Erin Cox may be the only one making good choices at North Andover High School. Administrators at her school decided she needed to be punished. Forget the message of finding a designated driver that’s been plastered on television, radio and billboards for years. If you go to this school you might be better off crossing your fingers and driving yourself home.

Who is Erin Cox?

Who is Erin Cox? Erin Cox is an honor student and volleyball star. She helped a friend who needed a ride home from a party but when she arrived at the party police were arresting other kids for underage drinking. At least the police had the clarity to see that she was there to help a friend and not a party attendee. They immediately cleared the high school senior. Not the school. Citing the school’s “zero tolerance” rules she has been stripped of her title of captain of the volleyball game and suspended for five games. What did Erin Cox say? It sounds like she’s the smart one. Cox said she wasn’t drinking. And according to Erin Cox, she felt like going to get her friend 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 was the right thing to do. I [told her I would] give her a ride home.” Even in the face of harsh criticism the school refuses to back down. The family has also filed a lawsuit against the school last Friday hoping to force the school to do the right thing, but the district court judge ruled the court did not have jurisdiction over the issue, local station WBZ-TV reports.

What is the lesson?

The family said it best: If a friend asks you to help them you help them, especially if it could save their own life or the life of another person. Is it really a good thing for the kids to not be able to help their friends because they might end up in trouble at school? What does the school say? An attorney for the school told the Boston Herald that officials are standing firm on the punishment. And the district has no further comment about the incident. But as publicity and support builds behind the Cox family we may see common sense prevail. In fact, the family’s story has already appeared on Fox News and other national media outlets. Regardless of the consequences, Erin Cox reports she believes she did the right thing, and she does not regret her actions. While I might question whether or not to let this bunch of simpleton administrators teach my child at all, if Erin Cox learned to stand up for what’s right, despite the consequences, she will have learned the most important lesson of all.
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