Just about anywhere else at any other time, a sober friend giving a drunk friend a safe ride home would be a heroic act. Certainly it’s not the kind of thing that should result in getting suspended from school.
As this post on The Raw Story tells us, however, for Erin Cox, an upstanding student and now former captain of the school’s volleyball team, that’s exactly what happened. At issue here is the school’s zero tolerance policy regarding drug and alcohol consumption. It would also appear the school thought Erin had been drinking herself, or had even been arrested for being at the party, neither of which were the case.
I’m not a fan of zero tolerance policies. I prefer to call them zero intelligence policies, as that is a much more accurate name; most of the time, harsh punishments are dealt out based on one detail of a case. Whether it’s accidentally bringing a toy gun to school, or even sneaking in some over-the-counter pain pills from home, the policy to suspend kids for days or weeks or remove to an alternative schooling program shows the school has zero intelligence to make a reasonable decision.
I’m also not a fan of the 21 drinking age, either. Without kids seeing alcohol as a “forbidden fruit” the party that Erin felt the need to rescue her friend from probably would not have happened.
I’m not even sure the school had any business getting involved, as this was off school property and not in any way connected to the school other than some students at that school happened to be at this party.
Perhaps the biggest outrage here is that the court where Erin’s parents sued the school on her behalf is refusing to get involved, saying it has no jurisdiction over the school’s decision. I don’t know how the court arrived at this conclusion, but courts have overruled school district actions all across the country on many occasions.
Anway, zero intelligence pretty much describes my opinion of the faculty members at North Andover High School who felt suspending Erin was the right move. It quite clearly was not, judging by the fact it’s all over the national news now. The right thing for the school to do now is to immediately cancel the suspension, change the existing absences to excused (usually, suspensions are unexcused absences, which mean that assignments cannot be made up), reinstate Erin as captain of the volleyball team, and apologize profusely. I would also like to see someone involved in this farce of a decision get fired or reassigned, but I’m not holding my breath.