Note: we are republishing this story to raise awareness about studies that show Black children are more likely to face punishment than white children for the same behavior. More on this here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-children-are-more-likely-to-be-disciplined-than-white-kids-for-the-same-behavior-2019-10-16
10-year-old Tamarion Wilson was forced to write “ma’am” repeatedly as punishment after he used the term of respect.
Wilson, a fifth-grade student at North East Carolina Preparatory School in Tarboro, North Carolina, returned home with a sheet of paper for his mother to sign so that the punishment would be complete.
Teretha Wilson, Tamarion’s mother, told ABC 11: “I asked him what happened. He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes ma'am.’”
The teacher had apparently warned the class about calling her ma’am, although the reason is unclear.
According to Teretha, Tamarion had been hospitalized last month for a seizure illness that caused hallucinations and memory loss, but the teacher was unaware of this.
Reportedly, when Tamarion called the teacher “ma’am,” she said that if she had something to throw, she’d throw it at the boy. The teacher admitted to this in a parent conference, although she claimed that it was a joke.
McArthur Bryant, Tamarion’s father, stated that they have raised their children to refer to their elders as “sir” or “ma’am.”
“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 ABC 11.
During a meeting with the teacher and the principal, Teretha requested that Tamarion be placed in a different classroom, and the principal granted the request.
In a brief statement addressing the issue, the school said: “This is a personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal.”
Sources: Daily Mail