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Alabama teachers could receive jail time for accepting Christmas gifts from students
Hotair ^ | 12/14/2011 | Tina Korbe

Posted on 12/14/2011 2:42:13 PM PST by SeekAndFind

This is a prime example of the way “the few” can ruin it for “the many.” Because a few parents have sent their kids to school bearing over-the-top presents for Teacher, the State of Alabama Ethics Commission has decided that some Christmas gifts equate to bribes. A new ruling from the Commission prohibits teachers from accepting certain gifts, including gift cards, hams and turkeys. The Washington Post’s Janice D’Arcy has more:

Many states and some individual schools ask that parents and teachers respect certain gift-giving guidelines, but Alabama’s law is far tougher than most. A teacher who is caught in violation could receive jail time and a fine of up to $6000.

According to an Associated Press story the Alabama Ethics Commission said teachers should have to abide by the same conflict-of-interest laws as lobbyists because “The suggestion that it is harmless for a school child to give a Christmas gift to their teacher ignores the potential for abuse.”

D’Arcy talked to a teacher friend of hers to find out whether teachers allow gifts to influence the way they treat students. Her friend says she does her best to not be influenced by presents — and that, particularly in the case of a child with behavioral problems, she’s not any more or less apt to overlook infractions because she did or didn’t receive a present.

On some level, the ethics ruling makes sense: Why not remove entirely the temptation to treat children differently according to the presents their parents prepare? But on another level, this is indicative of the general trend toward overcriminalization in our nation today. And overcriminalization has broad and negative consequences for our country. The proliferation of laws and prohibitions means both that more law enforcement becomes necessary and that laws are likely to be broken on a more regular basis, either because citizens aren’t aware of the law or because they find it petty. That, in turn, gradually erodes the rule of law.

Let’s apply the basic principle of subsidiarity here: The state is not “the most local level” at which this “problem” could be solved. Teachers ought to be able to solve this issue on their own. If they sense that they’re unduly influenced by presents, they could ask parents to refrain. Failing that, individual schools could establish gift policies.

Or, as an entirely different solution, we could accept that children with involved parents do have an advantage in school and life — and, instead of seeking to limit the activity of such parents, focus our time, attention and effort on encouraging absent parents to be a bit more present for their children.

Last thought: This ruling, as with so many senseless policies, assumes the primacy of the material over the personal or spiritual. That is, it assumes that material presents buy children an advantage immaterial presents — like gratitude, politeness and diligence in the classroom — could never purchase. But no doubt a heartfelt thank-you note to a teacher would, in most cases, curry just as much favor as an elaborate gift.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: alabama; arth; christmas; merrychristmas

1 posted on 12/14/2011 2:42:23 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Christmas gifts are a no-no but what about kwanzaa gifts?

2 posted on 12/14/2011 2:59:55 PM PST by bgill (The Obama administration is staging a coup. Wake up, America, before it's too late.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Shouldn’t they properly be called “Winter Solstice” gifts? I mean, public schools don’t celebrate Christmas, but they do have a Winter Break and a Winter Concert.

3 posted on 12/14/2011 3:07:50 PM PST by FamiliarFace
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To: SeekAndFind
Not once did I ever entertain the idea of giving any of my teachers a ham or a turkey. But I did gift a couple with a tightly packed snowball in the windshield after school, launched from a well-camouflaged perch. I really rubbed it in with one of them the next day, when I sneaked into their room between classes and left a note on their desk that read, "When you slammed on your brakes, I noticed your right tail light was burned out. Better get that fixed, too."

I was a very bad kid.

"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away, for his name is Obama."

4 posted on 12/14/2011 3:10:30 PM PST by Viking2002 (Hippies smell.)
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To: SeekAndFind

They have a good point. There are some parents out there who are utterly shameless about their children, including bribing teachers for better grades.

The best way to short circuit such nonsense is to put a dollar limit on it, and teachers let kids know that any gifts worth more than that automatically go to some designated charity.

What the gift is, as well, is also scrutinized. Some students think it is hilarious to gift teachers with adult oriented gifts, from liquor to lingerie, and this should set off alarm bells, especially if the students aren’t trying to be funny.

5 posted on 12/14/2011 3:13:51 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: SeekAndFind

While I think jail time is definitely over the top, I’m inclined to support the “no gifts” policy, but for different reasons. I can see where this can quickly become very competitive to see “who can give the teacher the best gift” (especially when the parents get involved.) Kids from families for whom this practice would be a financial hardship will be made to feel like crap by their peers. In my opinion, the policy should be that giving the teacher a Christmas card (or other holiday card) is perfectly fine, but gifts of any kind cannot be accepted.

6 posted on 12/14/2011 3:22:31 PM PST by GreenHornet
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To: GreenHornet

‘_______I’m inclined to support the “no gifts” policy____”

I have been shouting this for years at my daughters and their giving to their kids’ teachers.
One of our daughters IS an elementary school teacher, and you should see the treasure trove she could invade when someone needed a gift to give!
Altho there is kind of a code at her school, or at least now with her.

Could see it was getting out of hand years ago.
Pleaded with daughters to influence their friends to STOP IT!
But no - even as shopping for something made them nuts as to what.

Maybe I would allow the coffee shop gift cards - from the whole class - these sorts of businesses have made it easy to give something reasonable, and possible to just re-gift, if one wishes to.
Coffee Shop, Cupcake Bakery, etc. gift cards - no kid is singled out as a super giver, or a non-giver.

Some years back Dear Abbey or Heloise had some good guidelines, but how many listened?

7 posted on 12/14/2011 4:39:49 PM PST by USARightSide ( * SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS * Click on my screen name)
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To: SeekAndFind
Teachers ought to be able to solve this issue on their own. If they sense that they’re unduly influenced by presents, they could ask parents to refrain.

The problem is that the corruptible teachers the law is intended to rein in would obviously not do any such thing.

The law may be too strict, but the basic concept is sound. It ought to have some kind of de minimus level (e.g. gifts are allowed, but only up to a certain stated dollar value).

8 posted on 12/14/2011 5:24:24 PM PST by Captain Quirk
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To: SeekAndFind

The ethics laws are payback to the teachers union for interfering in the last governor election - the union engineered the primary defeat of Republican favorite Bradley Byrne by crossing over and voting in droves for current Governor Bentley, so when Republicans swept the elections and took over both houses, this was voted in along with other provisions that effectively hamstring the rat money machine. This is a good thing, but there are consequences - like we can no longer openly pool money and buy a nice gift card for my daughter’s band director, who is a great guy and fully deserves a nice gift. Too bad Republicans in DC are too craven to do things like that.

9 posted on 12/14/2011 7:58:03 PM PST by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Go Steelers (what's the baseball team called again?))
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To: SeekAndFind

After the first 50 coffee mugs tend to loose power as a bribe.

10 posted on 12/14/2011 8:05:33 PM PST by ThomasThomas ( If you can't laugh at your self, I will for you.)
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To: metmom; wintertime

IMHO, a great Christmas present a parent could give to his or her children is to remove them from the public schools.

11 posted on 12/16/2011 5:43:39 PM PST by Clintonfatigued (Illegal aliens collect welfare checks that Americans won't collect)
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To: Clintonfatigued; 2Jedismom; 6amgelsmama; AAABEST; aberaussie; Aggie Mama; agrace; AliVeritas; ...


This ping list is for the “other” articles of interest to homeschoolers about education and public school. This can occasionally be a fairly high volume list. Articles pinged to the Another Reason to Homeschool List will be given the keyword of ARTH. (If I remember. If I forget, please feel free to add it yourself)

The main Homeschool Ping List handles the homeschool-specific articles. I hold both the Homeschool Ping List and the Another Reason to Homeschool Ping list. Please freepmail me to let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from either list, or both.

12 posted on 12/16/2011 6:58:22 PM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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