EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 16, 2013

Editorial: Student’s punishment shows poor judgment


It is difficult to see from the story as reported how Cox violated this policy. She was at the party where students were arrested. That her reason for being there was to pick up an intoxicated friend is apparently of no interest to school officials.

This kind of “zero tolerance” thinking is a crutch used by school officials, who would rather not have to make the difficult decisions that usually come with positions of authority. Such decisions require good judgment. But judgments often are called into question by those affected by them.

Rather than have to defend their judgments, how much easier it is to point at a handbook and declare “we have a policy.”

The Cox family has hired a lawyer but a district court judge already has ruled he has no jurisdiction in such matters. There may be no legal recourse for Erin.

The story has gone national and subjected the North Andover school administration to richly deserved ridicule. Who else but a school official would punish a young person for looking after the safety of a friend?

If public pressure does not compel school officials to overturn their decision, Erin Cox will have to be content with the knowledge that she did the right thing — and the adults charged with her “education” have behaved like fools.

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