Get the latest from TODAY
When Stacy Dutton wanted to give her son’s teachers a special gift for National Teacher Appreciation Week, the mom-of-two designed a personalized wine bottle label featuring his photo and the cheeky statement: “Our child might be the reason you drink, so enjoy this bottle on us.”
Dutton, the art director at Evermine, a personalized paper and stationary company based in Portland, Oregon, wrote about the project on the Evermine blog in April of 2015, but after a photo of the label appeared on Reddit, her creation went viral and sparked a bit of controversy.
“People either love it or they hate it,” Dutton, who welcomed her second child a few weeks ago, told TODAY Parents. “All it was ever meant to be was just a nice, funny, light-hearted gift.”
Sebrina Lane, a mother-of-three from Hudson, Florida, says that as a mom and a substitute teacher, she can see both sides of the argument.
“My kids go to a private, Christian school. I think some of the teachers would like it, but they would act like it was inappropriate,” she said. “I subbed for a 5th grade class for three days last week, though, and those teachers definitely needed some wine.”
RELATED: Ideas for teacher gifts
Heather Lane (no relation to Sebrina) lives in Severna Park, Maryland, and says that she’d be apprehensive about giving wine to her kids’ teachers, as bringing alcohol onto school property is generally frowned upon.
“I think I might give them this gift if we had developed a true friendship outside of my child’s class, I knew they liked wine, and I could give them the gift outside of school,” said Lane.
Bob Mosier is the chief communications officer for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, a Maryland school system. Mosier cautions parents that there may be some serious ramifications to this type of joking.
“Our teachers go to incredible lengths for their students every day, and there is no question that the job is often stressful,” said Mosier. “While we appreciate parents who want to thank their child’s teacher, the portrayal of that child as a reason for alcohol use is neither appropriate nor humorous. We spend a great deal of time emphasizing the importance of making good choices to our students, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and this ‘gift’ surely doesn’t fall into that category.”
Still, Dutton says some parents love the idea — Evermine has seen a large boost in orders of this type of personalized wine label since the photo went viral.
“I just think it’s great that other parents are in a similar boat, or other teachers get that it’s just a tongue-in-cheek thing,” she said, adding that the staff at Evermine have enjoyed seeing all of the cute photos of kids that parents have submitted to be made into a similar label.
"I asked my friends who are teachers what they’d like to receive and they said not to get them another Starbucks gift card or another mug, so I’ve done some cute gifts over the years — and they don’t all involve alcohol,” joked Dutton.
Dutton says it’s important to know your child’s teachers — their likes and dislikes — and to give them a gift that’s appropriate for the relationship you have with them. And, she says she was sure to deliver the wine bottles off of school property so as not to break any rules.
“I know my son’s teachers very well. I know them on a personal level. My son has been going to the same spot for a few years, and they’ve pretty much been raising my son with me since he was 3 months old,” she said. “I knew they were going to find the gift funny and humorous. And, since he had kind of just started his terrible two’s, I thought it would be a fun, appropriate gift.”
This article was originally published on July 29, 2016 on TODAY.com.