The parents of a 10-year-old North Carolina student who was punished for calling his teacher “ma’am” have insisted he be moved to another class.
Their demand came after they recovered from being stunned to learn that Tamarion Wilson was ordered to fill a page with the word “ma’am” after he used it to address his teacher.
He was raised to be respectful, his parents, Teretha Wilson and McArthur Bryant, said in a report in the London Daily Mail.
The teacher had asked her class not to use the term of respect, although the report said the reason was unclear. But Wilson explained her son had been hospitalized only a few weeks earlier for seizures that involved hallucinations and memory loss.
“When the boy called the teacher ‘ma’am’ after she had prohibited it, the teacher said that if she had something to throw, she would have thrown it at the boy, according to Wilson,” the report said.
It all happened at North East Carolina Preparatory school in Tarboro, North Carolina.
His mother found out about the punishment because Tamarion was ordered to fill the paper with the word, then take it home so his mother could sign it.
“I asked him what happened. He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes ma’am’,” she told a local television station.
The Mail explained, “While the term of respect is sometimes reserved for married women, or those presumed old enough to have children, in many parts of the South it is used for women of all ages.”
The principal agreed to move the student to another class after Wilson met with the teacher and principal.
The school commented only that it was a personnel matter.