FILE PHOTO: A teacher in North Carolina punished a fifth grade student for calling her ma'am.
Photo: plutmaverick/Shutterstock
Photo: plutmaverick/Shutterstock

Fifth grader punished for calling teacher 'ma'am'

Teretha Wilson said something was wrong with her son, 10-year old Tamarion, when he got off the school bus from North East Carolina Preparatory School in Edgecombe County.

"I asked him what happened. He said he got in trouble for saying 'yes ma'am',"  Wilson told WTVD.

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Wilson was confused, so Tamarion showed her a sheet of paper with the word "ma'am" written on it four times per line on both sides. He said his teacher made him repeatedly write the word because he kept referring to her as "ma'am" despite her instruction not to.

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A parent had to sign the paper. 

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Wilson and Tamarion’s father McArthur Bryant said their children were taught to refer to adults as "ma'am" and "sir," and that their son was not trying 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,"  Bryant told WTVD.

Wilson said the punishment was completed in class and took away from Tamarion’s work.

During the encounter, Wilson said the teacher also told Tamarion that, "if she had something, she would have thrown it at him," WTVD reported.

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"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.

Wednesday, Wilson met with both the teacher and principal. During the meeting, Wilson said the teacher acknowledged saying that she’d throw something at the student, but the teacher said she was not serious and believed Tamarion was aware of that, WTVD reported.

Wilson requested her son’s teachers be changed after the meeting. The principal agreed to the classroom change. 

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