Parker teachers are eager to make December as productive and positive a month as possible for our students, some of whom have January gateways in view, college applications due, or other work products that need to be completed before the winter break. While their individual circumstances and stressors vary, all our students are coming to school amid the seasonal swirl of cultural expectations and celebrations associated with December holidays. The faculty plans to “manage the fun” of December to ensure a non-sectarian, safe, and purposeful school environment throughout the month. Several teachers asked me to write a Friday announcement that summarizes the Commonwealth’s ethics regulations on gift giving and acceptance for public employees, which I have done after consulting similar letters from other school districts and the Ethics Commission website: http://www.mass.gov/ethics/.
- Gifts where the combined value is $50 or more may not be accepted. Whether gifts are given for the holidays, end of year, or other occasion, a public school employee may not accept a gift or gifts from a current student or a parent over the course of an entire year (365 days) with the combined value of $50 or more.
- Gifts which have a value of under $50 are permitted under the law, but may be subject to reporting to the State Ethics Commission on a disclosure form. When Parker staff take the mandatory ethics training, they learn about the difference between an actual conflict of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest. Regulations requiring disclosure of gifts valued at less than $50 are intended to guard against even the appearance of a conflict of interest. A teacher accepting a gift of less than $50 from a current student/parent, according to the amended regulations, may create the appearance of a conflict of interest, and therefore a disclosure must be filed. Generally, any item of monetary value gifted during the year, including the holiday period, is subject to disclosure because the teacher is still in the role of performing duties for the student/parent.
- A teacher may accept a gift to the classroom that is to be used for the class and it will become the property of the school district and not the property of the teacher. Gifts from individual students, parents, classes, or other groups and entities are allowed as long as the gift is to the school. These gifts are not subject to disclosure. Parker will maintain a record of the gift. Such gifts must be in accordance with Parker’s policies.
Some have lots, some have not.
Donate now to TOYS for TOTS!
Toys for Tots, a 70-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to less fortunate children during each holiday season. The toys, books and other gifts collected and distributed by Marines and volunteers offer these children recognition, confidence and a positive memory for a lifetime. It is believed that such experiences help disadvantaged children to become responsible citizens and caring members of their community.
Help Parker support this great cause by dropping off new, unwrapped toys in the TOYS for TOTS donation bin located in the Front Lobby of our school until December 13th.
Please help our effort to bring a ray of holiday joy to a child in need.
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.