Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Would You Believe Guidelines For Gifts To Teachers?

Would you believe that many school districts are publishing guidelines for those that wish to give gifts to teachers? Apparently, the end of the school year is a time for giving gifts to teachers. These guidelines sometimes include maximum spending limits for each gift. From The Houston Chronicle:

Longtime first-grade teacher Rebecca Guess has received her share of trinkets, affectionate notes and other gifts from students to mark the end of the school year.

But even Emily Post would have been challenged by the Turner Elementary School teacher's most memorable gift: a training bra.

In the hands of a lesser teacher, the gift might evoke ridicule. But for Guess, the undergarment was an innocent gesture from a student of modest means.

"I made a real big deal about it," Guess said. "She just wanted to give me something, and that's one of the most precious things to me."

Apples no longer cut it.

Along with books and pencils, teachers pack up dozens of gifts from their students as the school year closes.

Some students make cards or write notes. The parents of others buy teachers candles, gift certificates and even jewelry. With the quest for the perfect gift sometimes becoming competitive among parents, some districts have set guidelines to minimize the impression that favored treatment exists between parent and teacher.

While there are no rules governing gift-giving in the Houston Independent School District, other districts have set maximum dollar values.

In Alief, [Texas] teachers can accept gifts worth up to $300 in rules set by the University Interscholastic League.

Last year in New York City, the schools' chancellor limited gifts to no more than $5 per student after some parents complained.

North Forest teachers can accept gifts that do not compromise their "professional judgment" as stated in the State Board for Educator Certifications' code of ethics, which the district adopted as its own.

Tina Salem, who has two children enrolled at Tomball Elementary, said she typically spends about $15 on her children's teachers. Her end-of-year gift to Sincler was a handmade pair of flip-flops.

At another Tomball school, Willow Creek Elementary, the parent-teacher group asked teachers to provide their favorite colors, favorite candle scents and other preferences in a "teacher's favorites" list to eliminate some guesswork.

"Not all our teachers filled out the list — they felt weird about it," said Cathy Pool, whose two children attend the school.

Our southeastern California school district has not published "gift guidelines," primarily because very few teachers receive any type of gift from our parents.
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