Erin Cox, a Senior at North Andover (MA) High School, is a victim of a society lacking common sense. Erin Cox, captain of her high school volleyball team, got a message from a friend who had been drinking at a party. She went to get her friend but finds herself victimized by the school's "zero tolerance policy" regarding drugs and alcohol.
North Andover, like many high schools, forbids students from engaging in at risk behavior involving drugs and alcohol. Erin Cox went to pick up her friend and save her from driving (or riding) under the influence. The result? She was stripped of her captain's position and suspended five games.
Think about that. Suspended from volleyball, and stripped of her captaincy, for doing the right thing by coming to the aid of her friend.
I have two teenagers. We talk regularly about peer pressure and the temptation of drugs and alcohol. We also have two simple rules: 1) If you come to me first to talk about at risk behavior you receive full immunity and 2) You can call me at any hour, from anywhere, and I will come get you. No questions asked.
I have lost friends and family members to drunk drivers; it's no joke. It's also terrifying to think that my kids (or any kid) would EVER compound a poor choice out of fear of facing their parents. In Erin Cox's case I'm glad she was a loyal friend. Kids make mistakes and take risks. As a parent I want that; I will always have their back.
The bigger question is what messages we are sending kids today. My job as a parent is to teach my kids right from wrong. What lessons are we teaching our kids in school and on athletic fields regarding loyalty, character and honor? Think of the irony: Erin Cox, volleyball captain, team leader, punished for demonstrating leadership.
Zero tolerance policies, like mandatory prison terms, come at the high cost of lost perspective. In Erin Cox's case a police officer testified that she wasn't drinking. So why throw the book at her? Her parents filed a lawsuit against the school. Good for them.
Was North Andover right to punish Erin Cox? Thank you for reading. I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments section and would love it if you like us on Facebook.
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Filed under: Family