Do you remember giving your teacher a gift to thank them at Christmas time?
It used to be a kind gesture between student and teacher or parent and teacher.
But now it’s on the list of things that have been “banned” in various parts of Australia this Christmas.
Yes, that’s right, a council in New South Wales has sent a letter to parents of childcare and kindergarten students advising them not to buy “traditional” gifts for teachers.
The Daily Telegraph reports Inner West Council described the giving of “significant” personal gifts to staff was a breach of employee codes of conduct.
“We do acknowledge that some families feel strongly about showing their appreciation to our educators and staff for their work with the children throughout the year,” the letter to parents reads.
“With this in mind, I would ask you to consider carefully any gifts you may offer. For example, a simple thank you card, or a child-made creation or drawing as alternatives to traditional gifts.”
What’s a “traditional gift”?
Well, parents were advised gift cards and other “cash-like” gifts would be “politely declined” by the teachers.
“We would like to avoid these situations, particularly so as not to upset any of our children,” the letter reads.
A spokesman for the council did tell the Daily Telegraph that only “significant” or “cash-based” gifts were an issue.
“A small box of chocolates as a thank you to a carer who has looked after your child would be OK,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
Apparently, if you’re a teacher in New South Wales you have to declare any gifts you receive that are valued at more than $50.
If this makes you angry, you’re not alone.
A former mayor of the area slammed the ban, describing it as a “Christmas crackdown” and “the last thing the council should be focused on”.
“Parents know how undervalued and underpaid these educators are and want to show their appreciation for what they do for our kids,” former Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne told the Daily Telegraph.
“Government has no business tying down this Christmas spirit with red tape.”
And the Local Government Minister has weighed into the debate too, telling parents, teachers and the council to “exercise common sense”.
Minister Paul Toole said he didn’t think there was anything wrong with kids bringing gifts for their teachers.
“The council’s policy allows for token gifts, but advises against anything that’s elaborate or expensive,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“I encourage the council, and mums and dads, to exercise common sense.”
Christmas wasn’t always this complicated!
Surely they have more important things to think about? Are you sick of hearing about the red tape and PC issues surrounding this Christmas?