Mum shamed for refusing to contribute to expensive Christmas gift for her child’s Kindergarten teacher.
The NSW mum claims now when she does school pick-up she feels judgment coming from other parents. She sees mum’s she once considered close friends standing on the other side of the playground, blatantly ignoring her.
She is also concerned of the conflict affecting her son — that the six-year-old will stop being invited to birthday parties and playdates.
The mum decided not to give money to send her son’s kindergarten teacher for a gourmet weekend away at a winery for Christmas.
“It seemed very excessive to give teachers such expensive presents, so I said no,” Sophie tells Kidspot.
“There is all this pressure on parents to come up with the perfect gift — or spend a lot of money.”
She received a Facebook message in October asking parents to give money for a weekend away for the kindergarten teacher and her partner which involves a three-course fine dining meal.
“I’m surprised I’m in the minority of people who think this is not normal, the majority of people are just going along with it,” she says.
“I’m just absolutely gobsmacked this is a thing in school now.”
“It’s just crazy,” she says. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I don’t know whether we are competing to be seen to be good parents or whether they don’t want to miss out because of the peer pressure.”
“I think that teachers will then favour people who have given them expensive presents,” she says.
“It is more competitive now, where people want the best for their child in that they want that extra attention from the teacher and the way to do that is buying gifts.”
“If you give it to one teacher one year then you’ve got to do it for the whole of their school life — and that gets really expensive for parents,” she says.
“I know the teachers work hard but I don’t think they deserve a $500 pamper pack at a spa.
“I know people who are doing it just to be in the group, to be included, but I’d like to think I’m being a role model for my son.”
“I’m not going to give in to the peer pressure,” she says.
“Putting in big wads of cash is not giving him that experience — that joy of giving — so we got a little gift that he picked, that he can wrap and he can give to the teacher himself.
“It shouldn’t be the expectation that they get expensive gifts every year.”
I actually thought it was illegal for teachers to accept expensive gifts?
Info about receiving gifts via NSW Education
“Accepting gifts and other benefits has the potential to compromise your position by creating a sense of obligation and undermining your impartiality. It may also affect the reputation of the Department and its officers. You must not create the impression that any person or organisation is influencing the Department or the decisions of any of its employees.
“Always consider the value and purpose of a gift or benefit before making any decision about accepting it. A gift that is more than nominal value ($50) must not become personal property. You should either politely refuse it or advise the contributor that you will accept it on behalf of your school or workplace.
“When such a gift is accepted, you must advise your manager or Principal. They will determine how it should be treated and make a record of its receipt. Depending on the nature and value of the gift, it may be appropriate to record the gift in the asset register as a donation or other such record established for that purpose.”
Last year we were advised by our school that gift vouchers were not to be accepted under any circumstances.
Department of Education TAS policy issued in November 2016 states,
Officers and employees should not expect to receive gifts, benefits or hospitality for doing a job they are paid by the public to do. In most situations, ‘thanks’ is enough.
You must never accept a gift, benefit or hospitality, token memento or modest refreshment in the following circumstances:
• It is money or money equivalent;
• A valuable object valued at $100 AUD or higher;
• You are a Government buyer and your acceptance may influence or be perceived to influence a procurement or disposal decision;
• You or your agency makes decisions or gives advice regarding the gift giver or are likely to in future and your acceptance may influence or be perceived to influence the decision or advice;
• Your acceptance may otherwise cause an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest, or may be seen by other people as a reward or incentive.
Officers and employees should not expect to receive gifts, benefits or hospitality for doing a job they are paid by the public to do. In most situations, officers and employees should refuse gifts, benefits or hospitality if offered.
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