In October 2013 a teenage girl in Massachusetts got into big trouble with her school after getting caught sober picking up a drunken friend at a high school party. That’s right, she got a call asking for a sober ferry from party to home, and got in trouble for never even having a single drink. Let’s look at the specific chain of events. The girl, a good student and captain of the volleyball team, got a call late into the evening for a ride home. Her friend, drunk at a party, didn’t want to get into the vehicle of another drunk individual. Cops showed up just about the time the sober driver got to the house, and upon discovering her presence promptly cleared her because she was sober.

punished for not drinkingBut her high school got super pissed off and stripped her of her academic and sports glory for a time, all because the school has a zero tolerance rule for drugs and alcoholic beverages. So let’s get this straight, the police cleared the action of safely getting a friend out of a party, but the school was so uptight it decided to make an example of what is actually honorable and brave behavior.

Lawyers on the opposing side to the school’s tried to argue that the girl made a safe decision, and possibly saved a life or two in the process (drunk driving injury and death statistics speak for themselves). The school remained adamant in their decision, leaving the students in question most likely scared of doing anything possibly illegal, or helping others out of a technically illegal bind for that matter, lest the golden hammer of academia come pounding on their apparently tainted lives.

This incident brings up the old debate about underage drinking and alcohol education. The U.S. has been trying to stamp it out in high schools and colleges alike, but teenagers and college students continue to drink and do drugs. This is not stopping any time soon. Every time a PSA comes on advocating against drugs and alcohol, I’d wager a teen or two sneaks away with the desire to do something illegal (and therefore illicitly fun). I don’t recall ever having a real discussion about sex, drugs, and rock and roll; all I ever learned was not to touch the stuff. Knowing only to say no won’t help us when we’re knee deep in booze, but scientific evidence and honest chat will give insight into what happens when the inevitable imbibing does occur.

The designated driver in this situation should be commended for acting out of safety and wisdom. She didn’t want her friend getting into an accident, and the school came down on her merely for being in the same vicinity as alcohol. That’s mad unfair. She should be an example of how to handle the drunken teen problem: what if, and this is just conjecture, parents and teachers alike admitted defeat and just let their kids drink in a safe environment, maybe make a few mistakes they’d make anyway, but be on call to get these dumb kids home safely. In college, it helps that kids can walk back to their dorms, but big drunken accidents still happen, but that’s an issue with the American transit world. All I’m saying is lay off this smart lady who didn’t do a damn thing wrong.

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