Youth Services Law

Showing 6 posts in Media.

Child Chokes on Carrot Stick

Posted In Day Care, Media, Personal Injury

In a tragic incident in New York, a two-year-old girl choked to death on a carrot stick she found in her teacher's bag. Many adults do not realize how dangerous small, hard foods can be for young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a list of dangerous foods, including such common foods as chunks of peanut butter or apples.

The center owner, acting on either good instincts or good advice, issued a well-crafted statement to the media, saying, "We are providing counseling support for our staff who were with the child and offer our total support, thought and prayers for the child's family."

Hat tip: Minor Troubles

Better Late Than Never

Posted In Media

Peanut Corporation of America late yesterday issued a press release voluntarily recalling peanut butter associated with the recent salmonella outbreak.  The company expressed concern for the salmonella  victims, a sentiment conspicuously missing from its prior statements.  Calling its customers individually also is a good move.

Someone at the company finally remembered the first rule of crisis management -- protect your clients.

"We Just Work Here"

Posted In Media

The responses to the the current salmonella outbreak offer a good lesson in crisis management.  King Nut Company, the distributor of the peanut butter linked to the outbreak in at least one state, on Saturday issued a press release explaining its voluntary recall of the peanut butter it has distributed.  The manufacturer, Peanut Company of America, issued a release on the same day.

Both of the press releases, undoubtedly approved (if not written) by lawyers concerned about litigation, used the traditional "we're investigating and cooperating" formula.  King Nut, however, went a step farther in expressing concern about the people suffering from salmonella.  Peanut Company was content to simply raise questions about the link between the outbreak and its product.  Its press release sounds exactly like what a lawyer would write in a court motion.

Yesterday, . . .

Continue reading "We Just Work Here" ›

Crisis Response

Posted In Media

Parents of a teenager killed by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo have filed suit. The Zoo spokesman gave the traditional (and not helpful) "no comment" response to media inquiries. Fortunately, the spokesman for the City Attorney said what needed to be said: "We recognize that this was a terrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to the [teenager's] family for their loss."  

As I have said earlier, if you ever find yourself answering questions about an injury in your program, always express your concern for your client and his or her family. Recognizing that a child was injured is not the same as admitting liability for the injury. Not only is focusing on the child a good PR strategy, but it is simply the right thing to do.

Everything I Needed to Know About Crisis Management . . .

Posted In Media

The Food Law Liability Blog posts about a seminar presentation on crisis management, titled "Effective Crisis Leadership: 5 Basic Rules You Learned as a Kid."  The rules were: (1) Clean Up Your Mess, (2) Share, (3) Tell the Truth, (4) Apologize, and (5) Keep Your Hands to Yourself.

Check out the post.  It's a great reminder of how to apply to our problems the same principles that we teach every day.

Day Care Worker Bites Child

A day care worker in Texas was arrested after admitting to biting a child to teach him, she said, not to bite other children. Naturally, the parents are "seeking legal representation." 

An earlier report of the incident includes a statement from the day care director. Most lawyers advise their clients not to talk to the media, because statements you make can be used against you if the matter ends up in court. The catch is that it always hurts the center's reputation when the only words a reporter can quote are "No comment."

I recommend that youth-serving organizations respond to media inquiries with four statements: (1) always, always, always express concern for the child, who is, after all, your primary responsibility; (2) identify any steps you have taken that can be made public (i.e., suspended the worker pending investigation); (3) always make clear that you are cooperating with authorities; and (4) explain that you cannot comment further about an ongoing investigation.

Resist the temptation to explain everything you know to a reporter.  Too much explanation will come back to haunt you.  You do need to establish your concern for the children in your program, but any more details need to wait until you have all of the facts.

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