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letters | punishing a teen designated driver

School owes student an apology

I AM a firefighter. My engine company carries the jaws of life, and several times a year we have to free young people from wrecked cars — almost always the result of drinking and driving. As a father of teenagers, I can’t express the level of pain I feel when a child is killed or injured so badly that they lose their ability to walk, or express themselves with speech, or even live without the help of machines.

Kids drink — as I did, and as most people I know did. That is a fact we probably won’t change in our lifetimes. Getting intoxicated people to use designated drivers is an incredibly wonderful solution to the scourge of drunk driving.

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North Andover High School student Erin Cox is a hero for being a designated driver, and should be held up as such. The school’s actions against her are not only unjust, but they will have a chilling effect on other kids who might do the right thing and act as designated drivers for intoxicated friends. I can easily see young people refusing to be designated drivers for fear of getting in trouble.

I implore the school system to strike the decision to suspend Cox from her record, apologize publicly, and reinstate her captain’s status on the volleyball team — for Cox and for all the others whose lives can be saved.

Christopher
Cavanaugh

Ossining, N.Y.

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