A fifth-grade student in North Carolina was punished by his teacher after he called the woman “ma’am.”
Teretha Wilson said that her 10-year-old son, Tamarion, came home from Tarboro’s North East Carolina Preparatory School upset on Tuesday, August 21. The boy — who had been hospitalized in July for seizure-related activity and had been suffering memory loss and hallucinations — told his mother that he got in trouble for calling his teacher “ma’am” after she had told him to not refer to her by that word, reported ABC 11 Eyewitness News.
The mom could not believe what she was hearing, but was convinced after Tamarion pulled out a sheet of notebook paper that had to be signed by one of his parents. On the paper, he had written the word “ma’am” four times on each line on both sides of the sheet.
Wilson and the boy’s father, McArthur Bryant, admit that they had taught Tamarion and their other children to refer to their elders as “ma’am” and “sir” as a sign of respect.
“He had a look on his face of disappointment, shame,” said his father, according to ABC 11. “At the end of the day, as a father, to feel kind of responsible for that, knowing that I have been raising him and doing the best that I can, it’s not acceptable.”
Additionally, Tamarion told his parents that the teacher threatened him, telling him that “if she had something, she would have thrown it at him,” which Wilson said “wasn’t professional.”
“He was disappointed because he felt like he had done something wrong,” the mother told Fox News.
“Is this what happens from raising your child in a good way?”
The mother said she had a meeting with the teacher, whose name has not been revealed, and the school’s principal the following day to discuss the incident. She returned the signed punishment sheet and also included an additional sheet of paper that had the definition of the word “ma’am” that she had asked her son to write out to educate the teacher.
Wilson told Fox News that, in the meeting, the teacher said the student “was getting on her nerve when he called her ma’am,” but could not give her a valid reason about “why that was bad.” The teacher also claimed Tamarion knew that she was not serious when she said she was going to throw something at him.
At the concerned mother’s request, the principal moved Tamarion to another classroom with a different teacher.
“This is a personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal,” said the school, via a statement.