Student suspended for being Designated driver

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116
Student suspended for being Designated driver

Should a student be punished for picking up a drunk friend at a party?

A teenager in Massachusetts is fighting her school suspension and demotion from captain of her volleyball team. Her family says she is being punished for doing the right thing

Erin Cox went to a friend's aid when that friend asked her to be the designated driver. The friend had been drinking at a party and wanted to leave.

Erin's mother says police showed up a few minutes after her daughter arrived at the party. The school found out about the party and determined Erin was in violation of its zero-tolerance policy against drugs and alcohol.

"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 Wendy Murphy, the family's attorney.

"She did what she thought was right and I'm very proud of her for that," said Eleanor Cox, the girl's mother.

At court, an officer testified Erin was sober at the party and should not be punished.

The school declined to comment.

Honor student in Massachusetts suspended for driving drunk friend home | abc13.com

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

Assuming that the facts of the story are correct and that she arrived literally "a few minutes" before the police, not an hour before & was hanging out, and that she was actually trying to get her friend to leave and not waiting in line at the beer bong.....

She was not a designated driver. That is someone who is actively *at* the event but who chooses not to drink so as to provide a sober ride home for others. She was more of a taxicab, which is called at the last minute to fetch someone who needs a ride. I think that's an important distinction to make here. She was not *at* the party in the sense of being a party-goer. The zero tolerance policy should apply to the party-goers, whether they were personally drinking or not, but not to someone who was essentially performing taxi service. That said, she should have known that going to a party might lead to trouble one way or another, and she probably should have asked a parent to accompany her.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Spacers" wrote:

[b[Assuming that the facts of the story are correct and that she arrived literally "a few minutes" before the police, not an hour before & was hanging out, and that she was actually trying to get her friend to leave and not waiting in line at the beer bong.....

She was not a designated driver. That is someone who is actively *at* the event but who chooses not to drink so as to provide a sober ride home for others. She was more of a taxicab, which is called at the last minute to fetch someone who needs a ride. I think that's an important distinction to make here. She was not *at* the party in the sense of being a party-goer. The zero tolerance policy should apply to the party-goers, whether they were personally drinking or not, but not to someone who was essentially performing taxi service. That said, she should have known that going to a party might lead to trouble one way or another, and she probably should have asked a parent to accompany her.

This will be easy to verify - if she wasn't at the party, the friend called/texted her so there would be a record of that. Yes, she could have called/texted from the party but I would give her the benefit of the doubt on that. If there is no text/call then she was probably at the party.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I agree. This is a big story around here. If the facts are as presented, this school is failing. You don't punish kids for picking up a friend who is drunk.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I think this is hard to prove and I can see the school's side on it.

On the one hand, the kid did the right thing (and so did the friend that called) by being responsible and caring enough to go pick up a friend and shouldn't be punished.

For the school though, how do they prove that is true. What stops other students who were actively at the party from using the same alibi? I see how this gets sticky. IF they can prove it via the texts I think that is great.

I was at a party in HS and actually was a DD. The cops came and everyone ran except for the few of us who weren't drinking. The cops refused to believe us even when we offered to take breathalizers (they also refused to let us call our parents...whole other issue). We were assumed guilty and as an adult I can see how they thought that with a bunch of teenagers and keg lying around. We weren't cited or arrested and eventually they did believe we weren't drinking and let us go home. But we ALL still got a friendly letter to our parents from the city police stating we were at a party with alcohol and underage drinking.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
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OT, but Noelle, I love love love your siggy pic. That is adorable!

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"elleon17" wrote:

I think this is hard to prove and I can see the school's side on it.

On the one hand, the kid did the right thing (and so did the friend that called) by being responsible and caring enough to go pick up a friend and shouldn't be punished.

For the school though, how do they prove that is true. What stops other students who were actively at the party from using the same alibi? I see how this gets sticky. IF they can prove it via the texts I think that is great.

I was at a party in HS and actually was a DD. The cops came and everyone ran except for the few of us who weren't drinking. The cops refused to believe us even when we offered to take breathalizers (they also refused to let us call our parents...whole other issue). We were assumed guilty and as an adult I can see how they thought that with a bunch of teenagers and keg lying around. We weren't cited or arrested and eventually they did believe we weren't drinking and let us go home. But we ALL still got a friendly letter to our parents from the city police stating we were at a party with alcohol and underage drinking.

In this day and age it's a lot easier to prove. Teens memorialize everything. Every aspect of their lives is caught on social media such as facebook, twitter, instagram, and video or text message. It's not possible for a person present at an event to not show up somewhere in all of that.

If her friend called/texted her for a ride and she got there shortly before the cops, she can easily show her text messages sent & received.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"elleon17" wrote:

I think this is hard to prove and I can see the school's side on it.

On the one hand, the kid did the right thing (and so did the friend that called) by being responsible and caring enough to go pick up a friend and shouldn't be punished.

For the school though, how do they prove that is true. What stops other students who were actively at the party from using the same alibi? I see how this gets sticky. IF they can prove it via the texts I think that is great.

I was at a party in HS and actually was a DD. The cops came and everyone ran except for the few of us who weren't drinking. The cops refused to believe us even when we offered to take breathalizers (they also refused to let us call our parents...whole other issue). We were assumed guilty and as an adult I can see how they thought that with a bunch of teenagers and keg lying around. We weren't cited or arrested and eventually they did believe we weren't drinking and let us go home. But we ALL still got a friendly letter to our parents from the city police stating we were at a party with alcohol and underage drinking.

But in this case the officer testified on her behalf and verified that she wasn't drinking.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

But in this case the officer testified on her behalf and verified that she wasn't drinking.

I totally missed that part. I change my statement then and am disagreeing with the school on their actions.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I agree with everyone else. And that's why I don't like blanket rules like that. There's no reason that girl should be punished if she's telling the truth, which they can verify.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I agree with everyone else. And that's why I don't like blanket rules like that. There's no reason that girl should be punished if she's telling the truth, which they can verify.

I hate zero tolerance policies too. I mean really does no one have a brain to make an informed decision? It's not like we are all robots and there can't be any unique circumstances. I think those kinds of rules are a cop out.