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N. Andover athlete will keep fighting sanctions

The family of a North Andover High School volleyball player who say the senior was stripped of her captaincy and suspended for five games for trying to give a drunk friend a ride from a party will keep fighting the sanctions, despite a legal setback last week.

Wendy Murphy, a lawyer for Erin Cox, said that a Lawrence District Court judge ruled Friday that he did not have jurisdiction to hear the family's civil complaint against the school district, but they are reviewing their options, including a possible federal lawsuit.

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In a statement, Kevin Hutchinson, North Andover’s superintendent, declined to discuss Cox’s case, citing student privacy laws.

“Each incident is fully investigated and decided upon based on the individual facts and circumstances,” he said. “Our administrators are tasked with applying the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules pertaining to student-athletes and alcohol in a consistent and fair manner.”

According to Murphy and court records, an inebriated friend called Cox from a house party in Boxford Sept. 28 and asked for a ride. Cox had trouble convincing her friend to leave after she arrived, and police showed up soon afterward, records show.

An officer indicated that “‘everyone at the party’ receives a summons for ‘minor in possession,’” the complaint said. But the officer later sent an e-mail to a school official attesting to Cox’s sobriety, court documents show.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.
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