TARBORO, N.C. (CBS Local) – The parents of a North Carolina boy are demanding answers after they say their child was punished for addressing his teacher as “ma’am.”
Teretha Wilson told local reporters that she knew something was wrong when her son, Tamarion, got off the school bus on Aug. 21. “I asked him what happened,” Wilson said, via WTOL. “He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes, ma’am.'”
The 10-year-old then showed his parents a sheet of paper filled with the word “ma’am” written dozens of times at the order of his teacher. The incident reportedly started after the boy’s teacher asked him not to call her “ma’am.” The 5th-grade teacher also allegedly added that she wanted to throw something at the child when he used the respectful term.
McArthur Bryant, Tamarion’s father, told reporters his children were taught to address their elders as “ma’am” and “sir” and his son was not trying to be disrespectful. “At the end of the day, as a father, you feel kind of responsible for that. Knowing that I have been raising him and doing the best that I can, it’s not acceptable,” the father said regarding Tamarion’s punishment.
During an Aug. 22 meeting between the parents, the teacher, and the principal of North East Carolina Preparatory School, the teacher reportedly admitted to saying she wanted to throw something at the boy. The unnamed teacher claimed she was not being serious and believed the 10-year-old student understood it was meant as a joke.
Wilson and Bryant argue there was no excuse for the way the Tarboro teacher overreacted. The school’s principal has reportedly handled the matter, however no detailed were released.
“This is a personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal,” North East Carolina Preparatory School said in a statement.