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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.

    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.


    Ossining, N.Y.