Some New York City private school teachers are receiving lavish holiday gifts like Rolex watches.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Kerry Close
December 19, 2016

Gone are the days when parents gifted teachers with shiny red apples.

Now, some one-percent parents are shelling out, sometimes against their better judgment, for lavish holiday gifts like Rolex watches, gift cards for plastic surgery and Hermès scarves, the New York Post reported. However, some parents aren’t giving generous gifts out of the goodness of their hearts, according to an early childhood educator named Sarah. “Most teachers [at my school] expect a nice gift, and if they don’t get it, they remember who did and who didn’t give,” she told the Post.

Over the years, Sarah herself has received a $250 gift card to pricy Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger and a Michael Kors watch valued at $500. One plastic surgeon on the Upper East Side told the Post his office sells about a dozen gift cards—with values ranging from $2,500 to $5,000—for teachers.

Other parents told the Post that they’re tipping their children’s teachers generously simply out of fear of retribution. “If [teachers] don’t get [tips], they get resentful,” said Leah, a mom of two from Brooklyn.

The expectation of over-the-top gifting has annoyed those who already shell out tens of thousands each year in tuition. Lauren, a Lower East Side mom, told the Post she was forced to chip in $100 to buy her 2-year-old’s teacher an Hermès scarf, typically $400 to $1,000. “I would never buy that [scarf] for myself,” Lauren said.

She’s not the only outraged parent. Heather Grabin, a mom of a 4-year-old in Jersey City, N.J., was angered to receive an email from her daughter’s preschool asking for holiday tips for teachers.

“I think they’re trying to palm [holding gifting] off [on] the parents,” Grabin told the Post. “They should treat their employees just like Goldman Sachs does. If you do your job well, you’ll get a bonus.”

Other parents, however, see the gifts as making up for teachers’ low salaries. “These poor teachers, how much do they make a year — $50,000? These poor people,” Laura, an Upper East Side mother, said to the Post.

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