Luxury gifts to teachers a ‘bribe’ problem
PUBLIC school teachers are being showered with luxury presents like jewellery and Yves Saint Laurent perfume in a worrying trend which experts warn effectively amounts to bribing teachers.
Teachers have accepted jewellery valued at $700, spa treatments valued at $250 and a $100 bottles of Yves Saint Laurent Perfume Baby Doll perfume, school documents obtained through Government Information Public Access (GIPA) rules reveal.
Parents are pooling resources and giving teachers Westfield Gift vouchers and Visa gift cards - and in some cases simply a wad of $300 cash.
This is despite a Department of Education edict which says they must not accept "obviously expensive gifts".
"You must never ask for money gifts or benefits and you must never accept any offer of money, or accept a gift greater than a nominal value," the ministerial guideline says.
A Department of Education spokesman said he interpreted that to mean teachers couldn't expressly ask for gifts.
"There is no ministerial directive prohibiting teachers from accepting gifts valued at more than $50," he said.
The ministerial edict states: "It would not be acceptable to receive gifts or benefits in the following situations … a parent gives a teacher an obviously expensive gift - e.g. jewellery."
However, the documents show the gifts received by educators included a parent giving a teacher a $100 gift voucher for Reading Cinemas for their birthday while another was given a $100 Swarovski bracelet as a wedding gift.
Another parent gave a teacher $700 worth of Pandora Jewellery.
In an extreme case, a parent tried to gift a teacher $10,000 but was told it would be "inappropriate" and it was declined.
Teaching method lecturer at UTS Mohan Dhall said extravagant gifts "absolutely blurred the line" for teachers.
"If someone is accepting something for $700 how could it not shape how they view and how they treat that person," he said.