A Milwaukee teacher is charged with disorderly conduct after punishing a first-grader by cutting her hair.
Lamya Cammon is angry, confused, and scared by the incident last week in which the apparently frustrated teacher cut one of her braids off after she wouldn’t stop playing with them in class.
Cammon, 7, sports a few dozen braids, but one is conspicuously absent.
“She told me to stop playing with it. Then cut it off and sent me back to my desk,” Cammon said.
Cammon’s a first-grader at Congress Elementary and said her teacher used a pair of classroom scissors to cut off one of the braids after she absent-mindedly kept playing with them.
She said the teacher called her to the front of the room and cut it in front of the whole class.
“I went to my desk and cried. And they was laughing,” Cammon said. “She threw it away, and she said, ‘Now what you gonna go home and say to your momma? ‘ And I said, ‘That you cut off my hair,'” Cammon said.
Cammon’s mother is furious. She went to the school and confronted the teacher.
“I said, ‘Well, you know, you cut a lot of her hair off.’ And she was like, ‘Well, I do apologize.’ She said, ‘But I was frustrated,'” Cammon’s mother, Helen Cunningham, said.
The Milwaukee Public Schools District said it is going through the disciplinary process with the teacher, who remains in class, although Cammon has been moved to a different classroom by the principal.
“The main thing is, from the heart of the principal, and me speaking for the district, we’re very sorry that this happened,” MPS spokeswoman Roseann St. Aubin said. Cammon’s mother said she appreciates the apology but said the district should seriously question whether the teacher should keep her job.
“Why would we want someone like that teaching our kids? We trust our kids once they go to school to be safe,” Cunningham said.
Milwaukee police investigated the case and referred it to the district attorney for possible physical or mental abuse of a child charges.
When the district attorney’s office decided not to file criminal charges, police this week issued the teacher a $175 ticket for disorderly conduct.
The Milwaukee Teachers Education Association can’t talk about the incident, but said stress is not unusual.
“As budget constraints get tighter every year, the stress level and frustrations do increase,” said the MTEA’s Sid Hatch.