The Mendacity of Zero-Tolerance Policies

Here’s another example.  A 17-year-old high school student (and volleyball player) in the North Andover Public Schools system, Erin Cox, was texted by a friend at a (underage) drinking party who needed a ride home.  Notwithstanding the judgment that brought the friend to such a gathering, this young lady retained the good sense to ask for help, recognizing that she was too drunk to drive herself.  Cox answered the call.

Shortly after she arrived to pick up her friend and bring her home, though, the police also arrived and made a number of arrests—not including Cox.  The police involved absolved her of any wrong-doing, recognizing she was there to help a friend and not a party participant.

That wasn’t good enough for Superintendent Dr Kevin Hutchinson, though.  He has a “No tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol.”  He suspended Cox for five games for her involvement in the party.  “No tolerance” apparently includes no tolerance for helping drunken friend who retained the judgment to call for help rather than trying to drive herself—since giving that help necessarily involved the alcohol that help-requesting friend had ingested.

Cox spoke a few days later to The Boston Herald.

I wasn’t drinking.  And I felt like going to get her was the right thing to do.  Saving her from getting in the car when she was intoxicated and hurt herself or getting in the car with someone else who was drinking. I’d give her a ride home.

I just feel very defeated.  When you’re in high school you’re supposed to stay perfect and be perfect, but everyone makes mistakes.

No.  This young woman made no mistake.  Her school’s “leadership” did.

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