10-year old punished at school for calling the teacher ma'am

10-year old punished at school for calling the teacher ma’am

Parents of a fifth grader at North East Carolina Preparatory School are concerned after their 10-year-old child was punished for referring to his teacher as “ma’am.”

Teretha Wilson said she noticed something was wrong Tuesday when her 10-year old son Tamarion got off the school bus that afternoon.

“I asked him what happened. He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes ma’am’,” explained Wilson.

Tamarion then showed his mom a sheet of paper with the word “ma’am” written on it four times per line on both sides. 

He says his teacher told him to write the word on the sheet that many times because he kept referring to her as “ma’am” after she instructed him not to.

As part of the punishment, Tamarion had to have the paper signed by his parents.

“He had a look on his face of disappointment, shame,” said his father McArthur Bryant.

Wilson and Bryant said they taught their children to refer to elders as “ma’am” and “sir,” and that Tamarion was not intending to be disrespectful.

“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,” said Bryant.

They added that their son Tamarion was hospitalized just last month for a seizure-related illness, which included memory loss and hallucinations, something the teacher wasn’t aware of.

Wilson said the punishment was completed in class. She was concerned that Tamarion was missing an opportunity to work during that time.

Wilson said during the encounter, the teacher told Tamarion that “if she had something, she would have thrown it at him.”

“It wasn’t right. It wasn’t professional. As a teacher, it wasn’t appropriate. And I asked her why she thought it was okay to do that,” said Wilson.

On Wednesday Wilson had a meeting with the teacher and principal at North East Carolina Preparatory School to discuss the incident and punishment. During that meeting, Wilson said the teacher acknowledged saying she would have thrown something at Tamarion, the teacher said she was not serious and believed Tamarion was aware of that.

To counter the ridiculousness of the situation, when Wilson returned the signed punishment sheet, she also included another sheet, which included Tamarion writing the definition of the word “ma’am.”

Following the first meeting, Wilson requested her son to be moved to a different classroom, which the principal agreed to do.

Wilson and Bryant are happy North East Carolina Preparatory School took action, they still want to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.

“If it happened to my son, I’m pretty sure if not a week, a day, a month, a year, it will occur to somebody else’s child,” said Bryant.

A family member posted a picture of Tamarion’s sheet full of “ma’am” on Facebook Wednesday afternoon. It has since received more than 1,000 comments, and hundreds of shares and reactions.

This is Tamarion’s second year at the School, and Wilson said the teacher has several years of experience.

An official with the school released a short statement regarding the handling of the incident:

This is a personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal.

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