Editorials: Unconditional Professionalism

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Some of the most heart-warming stories following the ice storm last week were stories of kindness involving Alabama children; kindness delivered by those that most would agree, are underpaid and undervalued – Alabama teachers.  These teachers cooked food, played games, quelled fears and tucked in hundreds of schoolchildren stranded at schools due to ice. They did what they did because of their love of the children they teach and the responsibility they bare while the kids are under their watch… doing so unconditionally.

I'm sure a lot of people will want to do something special for these teachers, including the General Manager of The Beach Club Resort in Gulf Shores.  He decided that this unconditional display of leadership deserved something and that something was two nights at his resort at no cost.

Here lies the issue; in 2012 Alabama lawmakers amended our ethics laws stating any gift to a teacher must not exceed $25 dollars. The intent of the law was to discourage corruption with state employees, but it is resulting in the unintended consequence of preventing teachers from accepting a gift such as this.

While I don't believe teachers will be up in arms about this situation or that the law will be amended to allow gifts in excess of $25 dollars, I do think these teachers deserve something.  So I would encourage each parent, grandparent, aunt and uncle of a child that was kept safe by a teacher last week to write them a heartfelt note of thanks; a note of thanks to that teacher that no one can put a price on, but I will assure you will have a value and meaning much greater than $25 dollars.

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