A Florida mother was arrested for filming her daughter at a doctor’s office licking a tongue depressor and putting it back in the container. Cori Ward, 30, of Jacksonville, Florida, shared the video on SnapChat. Prosecutors charged Ward with tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or injury, a felony.
While at the doctor’s office with her daughter, Cori Ward filmed her daughter lick a tongue depressor and put it back in the jar. On the wall above the medical items, a sign read, “Please do not touch medical supplies! Thank you!”
After she filmed the incident, Ward uploaded the video to SnapChat. The clinic learned about the girl’s actions and notified authorities. In a statement to the media, All About Kids and Families Medical Center wrote,
“We were notified yesterday that a patient violated our trust with behavior that is inconsistent with the practices and standards that we uphold and expect at our facility.
“Upon notification of this isolated incident, we contacted law enforcement to request a full and thorough investigation. In addition, we immediately removed all materials and container from the specific exam room and re-sanitized our entire facility. Our internal investigation does not reveal any resulting risks or harm to patients from this action.”
Police investigated the incident and arrested the mother for allowing her daughter to lick a tongue depressor and put it back in a jar. Authorities arrested Ward last week. During her first court appearance, a judge set her bail at $2,500.00. The judge ordered Ward to stay off social media and to have no contact with the clinic.
According to state sentencing guidelines, Ward faces up to 20 years in prison for the social media stunt. A new challenge on social media may have caused the mother to film her daughter. The licking challenge dares people to lick consumer items used or bought by the public. Recently a photo of a woman in Texas licking a container of ice cream at a grocery store went viral.
Cori Ward denied that she and her daughter were participating in the licking challenge at the doctor’s office. In an attempt to defend herself, Ward wrote on Facebook,
“What I didn’t know was that there was a “licking challenge” as I don’t scroll social media like that,” Ward wrote
Also, the mother insisted that she threw away the tongue depressor immediately after she filmed. Ward stated that the video was only shown to 20 of her friends on SnapChat.
“The video doesn’t show that the items were thrown away or anything else that happened,” Ward added. “I posted this on my personal Snapchat with my 20-something friends, where someone allowed another person to video it. I didn’t post it on Facebook or YouTube as a challenge or whatever.”
Ward told News4Jax that she was just acting goofy with her children while they waited at the doctor’s office. She denied that she put any children at risk. Additionally, Ward said she told the staff at the clinic about the incident before they left the clinic. However, the clinic has not verified where they obtained the information about the product tampering.
No matter her reasons for the video, a felony charge for the poor decision seems like an overreaction by the state. Product tampering is extremely dangerous, but the clinic stated that no one was harmed from the incident.
Ward’s attorney stated they are requesting a state attorney review of the charges.
For now, we will have to see how the case plays out in court.
Please don’t participate in the licking challenge.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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