(Editor's note: As many parents consider what to get their child's teacher this year, we've republished this reminder about gift-giving rules.)
The tradition of giving a gift to the classroom teacher is complicated, with some school systems discouraging it, and others advising parents to keep the gifts inexpensive.
State ethics law prevents public school teachers from accepting any gift, Christmas or otherwise, with a value of $50 or more. And, they must disclose the gifts they accept that are worth less than that.
The law took effect in 2010 and is the same for this school year.
Full disclosure: I was a middle school teacher in Springfield; this was the first time I had a job in which people gave me gifts. I received a few small items from my students, including the penguins in the photo accompanying this story, as well as some candles and mugs with cocoa.