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Ma'am, 10-year-old, North Carolina

10-Year-Old Boy Punished for Calling Teacher ‘Ma’am’

A 10-year-old North Carolina boy was punished by his teacher for referring to her as “ma’am.”

Teretha Wilson and McArthur Bryant said they raised their son, Tamarion, to use “sir” and “ma’am” when speaking to his elders and noticed something was off with him when he got home from North East Carolina Preparatory School in Tarboro on Aug. 21, ABC 13 reports.

“I asked him what happened. He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes ma’am’,” Wilson told the station.

Tamarion showed his mother a piece of paper where the word “ma’am” was written on it multiple times on both sides. Tamarion’s teacher reportedly told him not to refer to her as “ma’am” but he continued to do so. He had to have the paper signed by one of his parents.

“He had a look on his face of disappointment, shame,” Bryant told ABC 13. “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.”

The teacher reportedly told the fifth grader that “if she had something, she would have thrown it at him.”

Tamarion was moved into a different teacher’s classroom


Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.