Ala. Ethics Law Restricts Gifts To Teachers
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Teachers just starting out in their jobs often get gifts this time of year from students. But in Alabama, a teacher who accepts almost any present from a student could theoretically get jail time. That's because of a new ethics law, a law the governor now wants changed. From the Southern education desk at member station WBHM in Birmingham, Dan Carson reports.
DAN CARSON, BYLINE: Unintended consequences seem to be in Governor Robert Bentley's job description. First, there was fallout from Alabama's immigration law. Now he's asking lawmakers to amend a new ethics law that severely restricts gifts to teachers.
GOVERNOR ROBERT BENTLEY: I just don't believe that anyone ever intended to punish teachers or punish children. Teachers need to be exempt.
CARSON: Designed to stem corruption, the vague law bans gifts of significant value to all public employees. The Alabama Ethics Commission tried to clarify the law, but did not provide a dollar figure. So how much should a family spend on a gift card? Parents and teachers are stumped. State lawmakers say they will sponsor a bill to ensure teacher gifts are legal.
For NPR News in Birmingham, Alabama, I'm Dan Carson.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.