Erin Cox suspended for driving drunk friend home from high school party

Erin Cox, a 17-year-old honor student, was suspended for driving an intoxicated friend home. Photo: WBZ

(CNN/WBZ) - A teenager in a Boston suburb was disciplined by her high school volleyball team after she served as the designated driver for a friend who had been drinking.

According to WBZ in Boston, Erin Cox, a 17-year-old honor student and volleyball captain in North Andover, Mass., was suspended for five games and demoted by coaches two weeks ago after she picked up a friend who had been at a party where alcohol was present.

The friend had been drinking and was in no condition to drive, so she sent a message to Erin asking her for a ride home, which she obliged.

School officials say. though, that her actions actually violated a school policy. Erin, her family and friends maintain that the student was doing the right thing. By being at the party, school officials told WBZ that Erin was in violation of their zero tolerance policy against drugs and alcohol.

"We've raised our girls to be kind, loyal, compassionate and to always be there if someone is in need," her mother, Eleanor Cox, said.

Eleanor and her lawyer, Wendy Murphy, simply think the teen was doing the right thing and have filed suit against North Andover High.

"She goes to a party because someone says, 'Can you come take me home isn't safe for me,'" Murphy said. "(Erin) gets there and literally minutes later, the police show up.

"She did what she thought was the right thing and I'm very proud of her."

According to the Boston Herald, police from several jurisdictions descended on the party and arrested several people for underage drinking. The newspaper reports that Cox herself wasn't cited for an alcohol violation.

Murphy told WBZ that the family is fighting hard to get the decision reversed. Representatives for the school district or its attorneys commented to WBZ, but in comments to the Herald, an attorney representing the school said that its administration is always trying to fairly enforce its zero tolerance policy.

"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,'" Murphy said.