The North Carolina parents of a 10-year-old boy say they were stunned when the fifth grader was reprimanded for referring to an adult as “Ma’am.”
According to PEOPLE, Teretha Wilson and McArthur Bryant tell ABC-13 that they had their son, Tamarion, moved to a different classroom at North East Carolina Preparatory School in Tarboro after his teacher punished him for calling her “ma’am.”
Bryant said he learned of the incident when his son came home with a punishment slip that his parents had to sign. The boy explained that the teacher became so agitated by his repeated use of the word that she made him write the word “ma’am” on a piece of paper four times per line on both sides as a penalty, according to the report.
“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 parents also shared that Tamarion had recently been in the hospital for seizure-related activity, and now suffers from memory loss and hallucinations.
Adding to their anger was how the teacher admitted to them that she told Tamarion during the encounter that “if she had something, she would have thrown it at him.”
“It wasn’t right,” Wilson said. “It wasn’t professional. As a teacher, it wasn’t appropriate.”
Reps for North East Carolina Preparatory School told ABC-13 in a statement, “This is a personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal.”
Though Tamarion will be moving to a different classroom, Bryant is warning other parents that: “If it happened to my son, I’m pretty sure if not a week, a day, a month, a year, it will occur to somebody else’s child,” he said.
The child returned the signed punishment doc back to the school, along with the definition of the word “ma’am” attached, the family said.
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