Fifth Grader Punished For Calling Teacher “Ma’am”

Ruben Israel via Facebook

When a woman is young, she is referred to as “miss.” When she gets older, is she still to be referred to as “miss” or is there a more respectful term?

For a man, a respectful term would be “sir.” For example, “Yes, sir.” For a woman, is there an equally respectful term? Some might consider “ma’am” to be the equally respectful term, but not everyone thinks “ma’am” sounds respectful. Some women actually despise the term so much that they lash out in wrath on anyone who dares use it at them, well, at least one teacher in North Carolina did that when one of her fifth grade students called her “ma’am.”

Tamarion Wilson is a fifth grade student at North East Carolina Preparatory School. His parents taught him to respect his elders and authority figures by referring to them as “sir” or “ma’am.” The problem is that one of his teachers hates to be called “ma’am.” She hates the term so much that she told the students in her class not to call her “ma’am.”

One day, Wilson called this teacher “ma’am.” He was trying to be polite and do what he was taught. He simply said, “Yes, ma’am.”

The teacher didn’t take it as polite. Instead, she gave him a punishment. She made him write “ma’am” four times per line on both the front and back side of a piece of paper. She also instructed him to have his parents sign the paper before he brought it back the next day.

Wilson did as he was told. He wrote “ma’am” over and over again. Then he gave the paper to his mother to have her sign it. When Wilson told her why he had this unusual assignment, his mother was shocked and outraged. She told ABC11, “He said he got in trouble for saying ‘yes ma’am.’” She added, “It is in the student/teacher handbook that you must address teachers as ‘ma’am.”

This seems like an open and shut case. If the school handbook says teachers should be called “ma’am,” then surely the school would be on Wilson’s mother’s side. Nope.

When Wilson’s mom met with school officials, she told them, “I don’t feel like my son should be punished for respecting his teacher.”

The school officials sided with the teacher saying that Wilson didn’t address her respectfully.

Does the word “ma’am” sound respectful or disrespectful to you? Do you think the punishment fit the crime in this case?