DEAR ABBY: Recently your column dealt with suggestions from readers about the best kinds of gifts to give classroom teachers. Unfortunately, one of the responses ("Avid Reader, Winter Haven, Fla.") contained inaccurate information about the policy in our local school district.
The Polk County School Board has never prohibited students from giving gifts to teachers. Whether the gift is an apple, a restaurant gift certificate, a handmade craft, a stack of school supplies or a bottle of perfume, I think we all recognize that the true gift is the love exchanged between teacher and child. These gifts are merely tokens of affection for the teacher, and our teachers accept them gracefully and appreciatively, regardless of their monetary value.
The only restriction in our policy prohibits employees from accepting gifts from vendors and suppliers. Thank you for helping us correct this inaccuracy. -- FRANCES MC MICHAEL, COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECTOR, SCHOOL BOARD OF POLK COUNTY, FLA.
DEAR FRANCES: You're welcome. However, I must confess that when I printed the letter from "Avid Reader," I thought the policy described in the letter was sound, sensitive and well-thought-out -- not to mention a relief to poor families who are unable to compete in the area of gift-giving.
Teachers deserve to receive respect all year long for the hard work they do. They also deserve thanks for a job well done and to be paid salaries they can live on so they may provide for their families and their retirement. However, I'm not sure that student gift-giving is appropriate, since not all of them can comfortably do so.
DEAR ABBY: I know that you are an animal lover, and that each year you warn your readers not to leave their pets locked in enclosed vehicles because they can quickly die from heat stroke. But this year would you also add this important message?
Dehydration is a slow, painful death. Outdoor animals need open, fresh water constantly available in order to avoid dehydration. (In the winter when water often freezes, we also carry warm water to all of our outside livestock three times a day.) This includes: dogs, cats, rabbits, geese, goats, horses and cattle.
Please, Abby, don't ask -- TELL your readers to get out there and water their pets, or to find them a better home. -- SUNNY IN SPRINGFIELD, MASS.
DEAR SUNNY: I agree -- your letter contains an important message to pet owners. I hope they read it and heed it.
DEAR ABBY: I recently found out that my husband of two years met a girl on a bus trip. He had been e-mailing her for almost two months.
I confronted him, and he promised me that he loved me and wanted only me. He swore that nothing had happened between them. However, in the e-mails that he had sent her, he told her about a fight we had -- and he said things that could be interpreted to mean he wanted to have an affair with her.
She lives in Oregon not far from where we live. Should I be worried, or should I take his word for it and let it go? He promised he wouldn't e-mail her anymore or have any contact with her. -- HURT IN EVERETT, WASH.
DEAR HURT: If I were you, I'd keep a sharp eye on him. Talk is cheap. Divorces are expensive -- and not just monetarily.
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