A gift can be seen as a way to try to influence an upcoming grade, or as a reward for a good grade.
Gift to the teacher, a bribe?
A flower is usually OK. But is it OK to tip your teacher at the graduation ceremony? The rules regarding gifts are not clear, and the gift you give may actually be a bribe.
Teachers are included in the same rules as all other civil servants when it comes to gifts. Torbjörn Lindhe, head of division at Institutet mot mutor (the Institute against bribes) says there are instances where teachers have been sentenced for bribery when they’ve gone with their students’ parents on vacations or borrowed their mountain cottages. A gift can be seen as a way to try to influence an upcoming grade, or as a reward for a good grade.
“If it is a greater gift, then as a teacher one must be a little careful and turn it down, since it may look strange to others,” Lindhe says. There are no established sums when it comes to what constitutes a bribe, instead there are rules at schools of what personnel are allowed to receive, and there is also the importance of traditions, according to Ove Rang, a jurist at Lärarförbundet (the Swedish Teachers Union).
“It is also a difference if you receive the gift from a single student or from an entire class. If you receive the gift from one student only, there’s a greater risk that the laws might affect the teacher.” Lärarförbundet advises their members to ask their employer about a particular gift if they are unsure about it.
Flowers are usual gifts for teachers, but it’s hard to know where to draw the line between gifts and bribes.