If you represent a New York school, I can appreciate and understand the need to protect it against lawsuits. But at some point, protecting the school should entail using common sense - and that means stepping up and taking some blame when you've clearly messed up.

The news story from this past Friday, June 10, is a perfect case in point. A fifth grade boy at PS 140 in Queens lost the tip of his finger when it got caught in the hinge of two heavy doors. In the chaos that followed, the student - correctly - ran to the nurse's office to get medical help. But no one from the school - teachers, principals, security or other staff - managed to locate the tip of the finger until the next day. And by that time, doctors determined that it was too late to re-attach the top of this student's finger from his dominant hand. And now, this fifth grader believes he will be unable to button his own shirt or write - at least not without great difficulty.

Under the circumstances, you might surmise that the school would do the rational thing in order to head off negative press and a sure-fire lawsuit: admit your mistake (read: school negligences) and invite the parents of this child in to try and make it right by them.

But here's what this school does instead:

"Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg would only confirm the accident took place."

That's just brilliant.

 




Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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