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Rules on Gifts for Teachers [Poll]

State ethics law prevents public school teachers from accepting gifts valued at $50 or more, and they have to disclose, in writing, any gifts received. Is this affecting your gift-giving?

The tradition of giving a gift to the classroom teacher is more complicated, with some school systems discouraging it, and others advising parents to keep the gifts inexpensive.

State ethics law prevents public school teachers from accepting any gift, Christmas or otherwise, with a value of $50 or more. And they must disclose the gifts they accept that are worth less than that.

The law took effect in 2010 and is the same for this school year.

Full disclosure: I was a middle school teacher in Springfield last year, the first time I had a job in which people gave me gifts. I received a few small items from my students, including the penguins in the photo accompanying this story, as well as some candles and mugs with cocoa.

TBH December 10, 2012 at 02:53 PM
To each his own, but I don't equate teachers to paperboys or bus drivers. They are paid professionals. I do think it is appropriate for the child to think of and give a small gift. They are the ones that have a relationship with the teachers, not the parents. If they want to thank them and have the experience of giving a gift to a person they see nearly every day, it is appropriate. But the act of collecting money to put into separate gift cards, just under the $50 cap, when the children themselves essentially have no involvement in the act of giving, is unnecessary.
Ron Goodenow December 10, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Hate to be a grump here, but when a secondary or college teacher I was uncomfortable if I received individual presents, whether from a family or from individual students -- particularly if members of the class knew about what could be seen as 'brown nosing'. Or, they came from families which couldn't afford gifts or culturally felt uncomfy giving them Sometimes our classes would have holiday parties and students were encouraged to bring presents for each other (we made lists) or they all ganged up to give teachers a little box of something. What teachers appreciate is support for good pay and working conditions (think of all the teacher bashing from pols today), and an appreciative and well-thought out letter (with a copy to them) to a principal or superintendent at the end of the year. Hey, I have a great doctor and dentist. I see them as professionals and wouldn't dream of a holiday gift. The person who slogs the mail up my driveway on icy days or throws a paper in the right place every day is something a little bit else. Anyhow, happy holidays to all the teachers out there.
Robert Rosen December 10, 2012 at 10:35 PM
A reader on Natick Patch's Facebook page suggested making a donation to the Natick Education Foundation. http://www.natickedfoundation.org/tributes.html I thought that sounded like a great idea and wanted to pass it along. Many other towns have similar organizations that help teachers fund lessons and activities that might not be possible otherwise.
Ron Goodenow December 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Great idea! If your town does not have a foundation you may have a Rotary Club or other service organization that has a scholarship fund.
Helen December 13, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Our Elementary school went to a policy a few years back where the parents donate needed classroom items for the gifts...ie. paper, office products, kleenex, hand cleaner, even sports equipment for the PE Teacher. The teachers make a wish list so the parents know what is needed.

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