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.