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Justice for Erin Cox – School lawyer lied about ‘arrest’

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“That a school would then lie to a judge in a court of law is an outrage and shows the length some school officials will go to to retaliate against a family that dares to challenge an irrational zero tolerance policy.”

- Wendy Murphy, Cox family attorney

Folks, Fox News Legal Analyst Peter Johnson Jr.  said of the North Andover School  Board action against Erin,  “This is crazy. They win the stupid award of the week.”

This Thursday, October 24th at 6:00 pm  the North Andover  School Board is meeting in Executive secession, to discuss  among other issues,  a “Strategy with Respect to Pending Litigation.  An open meeting will hurt Committee’s position and the chair will so declare.”

Folks, you will be paying expensive lawyers to litigate against Erin Cox for being a “Good Samaritan.”   Contrary to a statement by Dr. Hutchinson  on  the district’s website,  “The rules for student-athletes strongly discourage students from engaging in conduct that is unlawful or fails to promote the health and safety of the youth in our community.”  As Howie Carr stated in a column in the Herald,  “Those rules are set by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and prohibit student-athletes from possessing, consuming, or transporting alcohol. Nothing peculiar about that. What’s peculiar is Dr. Hutchinson’s interpretation of the MIAA’s regulations.

Erin Cox did not possess or distribute any alcohol. And the only alcohol she was intending to transport was the alcohol in the bloodstream of her inebriated friend. Which means, by Dr. Hutchinson’s interpretation, that MIAA regulations prohibit the transportation of alcohol that just so happens to be inside someone else’s stomach.”

You are intelligent people, and can judge for yourselves what MIAA’s intent is from their handbook. Read especially the last sentence in Paragraph 62.1:

           ” This MIAA statewide minimum standard is not intended to render “guilt by association

                 62. Student (and Coach) Eligibility: Chemical Health/Alcohol/Drugs/Tobacco I 

                 62.1 From the earliest fall practice date, to the conclusion of the academic year or final athletic event (whichever is latest), a student shall not, regardless of the quantity, use, consume,                 possess, buy/sell, or give away any beverage containing alcohol; any tobacco product; marijuana; steroids; or any controlled substance. This policy includes products such as “NA or near beer”. 

                 It is not a violation for a student to be in possession of a legally defined drug specifically prescribed for the student’s own use by his/her doctor. 

               This MIAA statewide minimum standard is not intended to render “guilt by association”, e.g. many student athletes might be present at a party where only a few violate this standard.                                              This rule represents only a minimum standard upon which schools may develop more stringent requirements.…/basic_module/MIAAHandbook1315.pdf

The School Board will conduct an Open Meeting on Thursday at 7:00 pm. Perhaps a number of North Andover Parents and Students could speak on Erin’s behalf and ask the Superintendent and School Board to reinstate her before the litigation and its ensuing costs burden both your District as well as  the Cox family, who after all have been and continue to be exemplary members in your community.

Also, please sign and tell your friends about Carrie Hartwell-Lewchuck’s online petition to Dr. Carla Scuzzarella, Principal, North Andover High School and Kevin Hutchinson, Superintendent, North Andover Public Schools  at  Carrie Hartwell-Lewchuck  is an  anti-drunk driving activist whose brother, Zac Hartwell, was killed by an intoxicated motorist two years ago and she states in the petition that “Erin Cox should be hailed as a hero”

School lawyer lied about ‘arrest’ of girl suspended for trying to help drunken pal, attorney says

It was bad enough when a Massachusetts school threw the book at an honor student who tried to help a drunken friend get home from a party, but the district’s lawyer made things even worse when he lied to a judge and claimed would-be designated driver Erin Cox was arrested, Cox’s attorney charged.

The allegation leveled by lawyer Wendy Murphy is the latest development in a case that has already generated widespread outrage. Cox, 17, was suspended from the North Andover High School volleyball team for five games and demoted as captain, all for simply responding to a texted plea last month from a pal who was too drunk to drive home from a party. Minutes after Cox showed up, Boxford police arrived and shut it down. Some students were arrested, but most — including Cox — were given summonses for underage possession of alcohol. Police later backed Cox’s version of events.

Murphy said the school district compounded its own injustice toward a kid when its attorney, Geoffrey Bok, said in court that Cox was arrested at the party. She was not.

“That a school would then lie to a judge in a court of law is an outrage and shows the length some school officials will go to to retaliate against a family that dares to challenge an irrational zero tolerance policy,” Murphy said in a statement.

“In fact, as the police officer at the scene reported in a statement that was provided to the principal and the judge, Erin was not arrested and did nothing wrong,” Murphy added. “He added that she had not been drinking, had no intention of drinking, was there to help a friend and did not have even the ‘slightest’ odor of alcohol on her person.”

Bok’s claim, according to Murphy, came last week as she sued the district on behalf of the Cox family. Although that state court ruled it had no jurisdiction, Murphy vowed to pursue cases against both North Andover High School Principal Carla Scuzzarella and Bok in federal court.

Bok had no comment on the case, or even on Murphy’s charge that he lied in court. Scuzzarella referred inquiries to North Andover Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson, who defended the punishment in a statement to

“While some may decry the Administration’s actions as unfair or inconsistent with the principles of due process, our Administration wholeheartedly disagrees,” the statement read. “To be clear, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that participation in interscholastic athletics is a privilege. Rather than simply revoking the privilege, our Administration has consistently afforded its student-athletes a reasonable opportunity to be heard before a disciplinary decision is made.”

Since the story made national headlines, Cox has been lauded in many quarters for coming to the aid of a friend, and for trying to keep a drunk driver off the road.

“The story of Erin Cox, the Boston high school student suspended for being called in as a designated driver is unconscionable,” former Florida congressman Allen West wrote on his website. “Sadly, it is indicative of the statist drive permeating our culture to negate individual initiative, personal responsibility, accountability, and acts of honor.”

Oddly, not everyone is taking Cox’s side in the dispute. Mothers Against Drunk Driving President Jan Withers told the school was right to come down on the teen.

“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.”

Cox’s mother, Eleanor, sued the school district, but a judge ruled last week that the court did not have jurisdiction. Federal court is expected to be the family’s next move.

“We want this nightmare to go away,” Eleanor Cox told “We have nothing else to say.”

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