Erin Cox, Massachusetts Teen, Punished for Serving as Designated Driver

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By trying to avoid controversy for a friend, Erin Cox finds herself in the middle of some herself.

This 17-year old Andover, Massachusetts high school student recently received a phone call from a pal at a party, saying she was drunk and needed a sober ride home.

So Cox got into her car, drove to the sight of the shindig and was there when police officers arrived on the scene.

Despite a cop vouching for Cox's sobriety, Erin's school demoted her as captain of the volleyball team and suspended her for five games after learning she was simply at the party.

"She did what she thought was right and I'm very proud of her for that," Cox's mother, Eleanor, says of her daughter.

The family filed a lawsuit to fight the school's punishment and released the following statement through its attorney:

"With near daily stories of high school students dying in alcohol-fueled car accidents, we should be glad that young people like Erin Cox are willing to help friends who might not otherwise get home safely.

"By punishing Erin Cox, the North Andover School District sends a contrary and very dangerous message – that young people are better off not letting their friends drive drunk. We will soon file formal legal action against the school district in the hope that officials there will think twice before imposing sanctions on any student whose only offense involves trying to prevent yet another drunk-driving tragedy."

Geoffrey Bok represented the school in court last Friday - when the lawsuit was shot down - and said there was little it could do once the police were involved.

“The school is really trying to take a very serious and principled stand regarding alcohol,” he said. "And we all get that. Teen drinking is a serious problem.”

Again, however, Cox was not drinking.

“I just feel very defeated," Cox tells The Boston Herald. "When you’re in high school you’re supposed to stay perfect and be perfect, but everyone makes mistakes.”

Would she go help her friend again if the same situation arose? Yes, Cox says.

“It was the right thing."