5th Grader Punished at School for Calling His Teacher ‘Ma’am’

Screenshot: Local News 8 video

Many of our nation’s students have just returned to school for the fall, and already, some teachers are showing that they really aren’t equipped to handle the job of educating our children. Take for example a teacher in Tarboro, N.C., who got offended over the use of the word “ma’am.”

ABC7 reports that 10-year-old Tamarion Wilson, a fifth-grade student at North East Carolina Preparatory School, was punished by his teacher for saying “yes, ma’am.” The teacher made him write the word “ma’am” on a sheet of loose-leaf paper, four times per line on both sides of the page.


Apparently, the teacher had previously told her students that she did not like the use of the word ma’am.

Tamarion’s mother, Teretha Wilson, told ABC7 that her son said the teacher also told him that “if she had something, she would have thrown it at him.”

Teretha Wilson and McArthur Bryant, Tamarion’s father, told ABC7 that they raise their children to refer to their elders as “sir” and “ma’am,” and that it is not meant 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 said.

Tamarion was instructed to have his parents sign the sheet of paper that he wrote “ma’am” on and return it to his teacher the next day. When his mother signed the paper, she also included a second sheet of paper on which Tamarion had written the definition of the word “ma’am.”

Screenshot: Local News 8 video

Teretha Wilson met with the teacher and the principal on Wednesday. She said she asked the teacher if she felt her statement about throwing something at Tamarion was OK.


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

The teacher reportedly acknowledged saying it, but said she wasn’t serious, and thought Tamarion knew she wasn’t serious.


After the meeting, Wilson requested that Tamarion be moved to a different classroom, and the principal obliged.

ABC11 reached out to the school and received the following statement from a school official that said: “This is a personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal.”

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Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.