Jim Martin: Teacher gift policy needs changing

February 20, 2014 

Your Feb. 17 front-page article “Teacher gifts under scrutiny” inaccurately implied that the Wake County Board of Education is seeking to restrict gifts to teachers.

In an apparent attempt at correction, your Feb. 19 item “Pledging to not restrict teacher gifts” reported, “School board members have asked the staff to look at putting a specific dollar figure to the current policy.” Again, wrong information was given. The board has not made such a request to staff.

What we have done is respond to parent groups, who were informed by some principals that no gifts such as small gift cards could be given to teachers, and some parents who asked that we consider review of policy 3243, “Gifts to Employees.”

When we reviewed the policy, we recognized the language was vague at best and at worst makes the awards given to our teachers of the year in violation of policy.

The policy as it reads currently is one more punch to teacher morale. It is our intent to craft a policy that is reasonable, fair, ethical and legal.

Teachers and the community deserve no less.

Jim Martin, Wake County Board of Education, District 5, Raleigh

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