Editorial: Teacher Gift Exemption

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Seems this is Alabama's year for unintended legislative consequences.  We are all too aware of what our state is currently dealing with regarding the issues arising from our Immigration Law and now an unfortunate twist with our ethics law is rearing its head around the holidays.

Under-paid and sometimes under-appreciated teachers who dig into their own pocketbooks to fund classroom supplies for our children were barred from receiving gifts from parents and students.

Governor Bentley is calling for lawmakers to exempt teachers from the current state law that limits gifts for public employees and officials – teachers falling under the public employee umbrellaThe Ethics Commission ruled last week that the law will allow students to give teachers gifts, such as a book or scarf, but prevented them from gifting larger items, such as cash or ham.  You heard me right – your child can give their teacher a copy of Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird but not a smoked ham.  I know – crazy.

The law was intended to reduce corruption and with its wide net to do so has captured our school workforce – namely teachers.  We applaud the governor, the ethics commission and those legislators tackling this unintended consequence so we don't take yet one more thing away from our teaching workforce – the ability to be thanked with a token of appreciation.

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