According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s (MADD) website, their mission is “to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.” Why, then, is MADD supporting the punishment of a sober driver who sought to prevent a drunk driver?
Earlier this month, Erin Cox, an honors student and captain of the volleyball team at North Andover High School in Massachusetts, received a text from a drunk friend at a party. Doing what she was probably encouraged to do by her school, she soberly drove the party to pick her friend up to prevent her from driving home drunk.
According to the Boston Herald, police arrived at the party shortly after Cox arrived and arrested a dozen teenagers for underage drinking and warned 15 others. Although Cox was not arrested, was sober, and was only at the party to pick up a drunk friend, North Andover High School suspended her for five games and demoted her from captaincy of the volleyball team. Police had even vouched for Cox in a written statement.
The punishment came as a result of the high school’s zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and those merely in the presence of drinking by minors. Geoffrey Bok, the attorney who is representing the school, told the Boston Herald, “The school is really trying to take a very serious and principled standing regarding alcohol and we all get that. Teen drinking is a serious problem.”
Taking a serious and principled stance is one thing. Punishing good behavior as a result of inflexibility is another.
Notwithstanding its own mission statement, MADD seems to be encouraging drunk driving by advocating for the punishment of those who try and prevent it.
President of MADD, Jan Withers told FoxNew.com that the school did the right thing.
“Underage drinking is so very dangerous, that’s why MADD appreciates this school’s effort,” said Withers, who praised Cox’s intentions but said she should have called an adult. “I’m not there and I don’t know all of the details, but indeed, their efforts to prevent underage drinking through zero tolerance are admirable.”
Good job, North Andover High School and MADD. Now responsible, sober students will think twice about helping others and prevent drunk driving. What’s more, drunk drivers will think twice about calling a friend for a ride and instead opt to drive home themselves.