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Massachusetts Teen Punished For Giving Intoxicated Friend Ride Home From Party

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Erin Cox (Photo: WBZ-TV)

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (WBZ-TV) – It’s tough for Eleanor Cox to talk about how heartbroken her daughter Erin is over the punishment she received for doing what she thought was right.

“She’s very fragile and I’m worried about her. Very worried about her. She didn’t do anything wrong,” Cox told WBZ-TV on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, Erin received a call from a friend at a party who was too drunk to drive. Erin drove to Boxford after work to pick up her friend. Moments after she arrived, the cops arrived too and busted several kids for underage possession of alcohol.

A North Andover High School honor student, Erin was cleared by police, who agreed she had not been drinking and was not in possession of alcohol. But Andover High told Erin she was in violation of the district’s zero tolerance policy against alcohol and drug use. In the middle of her senior year, Erin was demoted from captain of the volleyball team and told she would be suspended from playing for five games.

“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,’” said attorney Wendy Murphy, who is trying to help the Cox family get the school’s decision reversed.

The Cox family filed a lawsuit in District Court on Friday but a lawyer for the school district argued against any kind of injunction. The judge ruled the court did not have jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the parents of Erin’s teammates have started a petition to support her.

Neither the school district nor its attorney could be reached for comment Sunday, but the Cox family is hoping they’ll listen to the host of supporters who’ve stood behind Erin.

“She didn’t do anything wrong. She did what she thought was right, and I’m very proud of her,” Erin’s mother said.


  • John Doe

    Stupid “zero tolerance” policies are for lazy bureaucrats. Thats one of the many reasons I home school my children.

  • Ronald Peterson

    Way to go Erin, you did the right thing , no matter what the school admins say. you were looking out for a friend that will probably be your friend a lot longer than those admins will be alive. your Mom has every right to be so very proud. I wish you the best of luck in your future.

  • Colin

    Great job Erin. You did the right thing. Those school administrators have no idea what they’re talking about

  • Gina Genova Flory

    This school is 100% WRONG!!!!! This is why teens (friends) tend to NOT WANT TO GET INVOLVED, and therefore our kids end up driving DRUNK!!!!! While I’m 100% AGAINST drunk driving, NOT TO MENTION the fact MOST of these kids were UNDERAGE, Erin, girl, you did the RIGHT THING!!!! If NEED BE, DO IT AGAIN!!!!!

  • Kristin

    Erin, you did do the right thing!! I will be praying for you and your family.
    If the school administrators would rather u not HELP A FRIEND, they r the stupid ones. By driving the kid home u saved that kids life and/or possibly saved an innocent drivers life!! God puts us in the position to be doing the right thing!! Apparently, this was a calling from God to Help this Kid for if not the kid would be dead or would have killed an innocent driver!! If the school administrators can’t see that then they should be the ones to be punished… NOT YOU!!!

  • Shawna

    First off Erin you did the right thing. And second the school is 100% wrong. If she didn’t go get her friend then she would’ve drove home drunk and everybody knows what could’ve happened then. I get the zero tolerance policy but they took it to far. Dicipline those that was drinking not the one that was helping a friend. Erin always do what you believe is right.

  • Rosemarie

    Erin, you did the right thing, you just might have saved your friends life or someone else’s life. I hope the school changes their mind. You should not have been punished for helping a friend.

  • mamac

    You have got to be kidding me.. If she hadn’t of went to get her friend and her friend DIED or KILLED A FAMILY then everybody would have said she deserves the DEATH plenty cause she didn’t go get her friend. She DID a GREAT DEED..All the adults that is punishing her for this GREAT DEED SHAME! SHAME!SHAME! ON YOU..Erin you DID the right thing..You have NOTHING to be ashamed for nothing. But the adults or to be ashamed of there self..

  • Isaiah Harris

    Erin, you have done a great deed by go getting your friend when she called you. I do not know why the school have to punish you for doing a great deed. That is the stupidest thing the school done. You should not be punished for doing a great deed. That was very nice of you to get your friend.

  • David M.

    Would the Principal have made the same decision if it had been her niece who graduated even though she was expelled a couple of years ago? This is a disgrace and Erin should be proud of herself. This Administrator is out of control – just ask around…

  • Sue

    Of course you did the right thing Erin. They would rather you turn down your friend? and someone end up dead because no one sober was present to help? That is just ridiculous! Good job Erin- you were a good friend and to punish you is wrong. I cannot believe they did not thank you instead .

  • judy allison

    Where were the kids parents and why did the drunk kids not call their parents to come get them? Why a friend? What a messed up deal.

  • Glenn

    I guess the schol system is saying you should have let them drive kill themselves or somebody else makes no sense they tell you to call somebody if you have been drinking everything worked all the dumb beau rats that made that decision should be checked for drugs because nobody except somebody on drugs would penalize that young lady for doing the right thing

  • Dani Huffmire Klein

    I don’t understand why the school is involved in the first place. My daughter just graduated HS this past June and she had done that same thing twice last year. Her HS has the same kind of policy, however, it surrounds school events only. The HS has no business encroaching on the activities externally and separate from the school. (In my opinion) The young lady probably saved her girlfriend’s life as well as the potential person(s) she could have killed in a car accident. Good for you Erin Cox, and I’m sure this will still look good on your high school record for college as schools at the college level would look at this action as a “responsible adult decision”.


    what kills me is that students are constantly taught not to let friends drink and drive. I remember countless time our school systems had the D.A.R.E programs come and harp on the students year after year not to let friends drink and drive and not to fall for peer pressure. How do they expect teens to do the right thing when they punish them for it each time. The educators need to make up their minds on what they want to teach kids and ask themselves what they would have wanted her to do if it was their child. Go and pick them up and carry them safely home, or let them drive drunk or even with another drunk driver with the possibility of dying or killing someone else.

  • Lauren Seyyal Farrow

    Ummm… she didn’t use alcohol or drugs. The police – who were on the scene – cleared her of that. She may likely have saved someone’s life: either the friend who was drunk, who could have died in a car crash, or someone else that the friend could have killed in a car crash, or – again – the friend who could have met with misadventure while impaired.

    Way to go, Stupid School District!!! Would you prefer kids who make unwise choices compound the problem by being unable to call upon a friend, or encourage friends not support their friends in their time of need.

    And these are the people educating our children. Makes you think twice.

  • dave

    I would suspend the School Staff that made this lazy decision. So much for teaching what is right or wrong. Help each other we teach. Now Erin Smile the world is watching and I rather be suspended and no my friend is alive than having a dead friend. What next suspensions for not reporting your friends. Thumbs up for Erin and Thumbs down for the School

  • Shotzie

    Hold your Head High Erin, you didn’t do anything wrong at all..You are a the school should hang their heads for doing such a stupid thing..They better reverse this an apoloigize.

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