Q: As a preschool teacher I often get phone calls from mothers of my students with messages for their daughters. Recently, a co-worker took a message, forgot to pass it on, and the student missed out on the important message. Obviously, the mother was annoyed and faulted me with the lack of responsibility. Am I permitted to tell her that I didn’t receive the message, thus ridding myself of blame?
A: In this particular case it is halachically permissible to say that someone else who happened to have been in the room answered the phone and forgot to relay the message, thus clearing you of blame. It should, however, be conveyed in a manner that will leave the mother assuming that the teacher who received the message (and acted irresponsibly) is not a steady member of the school staff.
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