Milwaukee Teacher Fined After Cutting Off Seven-Year-Old’s Braids As Punishment

A first-grade teacher has been charged with disorderly conduct after she cut off the braids of 7-year-old Lamya Cammon after the girl continued to play with them in class. However, she might not face criminal charges.

The teacher had told Lamya not to play with her beaded braids and, when she continued to do so, she allegedly called her to the front of the class and cut them off with scissors.

As the other children laughed at her, the teacher allegedly said “Now what you gonna go home and say to your momma?”

The response was a bit surprising: a $175 fine. I would have thought battery might be a more likely charge. One article below says that there will be no criminal charge and only the fine.

For the full story, click here.

42 thoughts on “Milwaukee Teacher Fined After Cutting Off Seven-Year-Old’s Braids As Punishment”

  1. Teaching is tough, but there’s (obviously) no justification for humiliating a child like this.

    However, we all know the worst thing in the world is “other people’s kids”. Frustration levels can be stratospheric!

  2. This teacher went way overboard with this haircutting incident. If I was the parents of this child I would be spitting mad, but I am not sure I would want criminal charges brought against the teacher, but I think she should be looking for a new, non-teaching job.

  3. Mack:

    I think you handled the situation appropriately. When an authority figure is being abusive to those in his charge, you have a duty to act and act decisively. In this case, you let the coach make his point, but when the lesson became punitive, you handled it, for lack of a better phrase, man to man. While I try to avoid sexist remarks, it is undeniable that sometimes the male of the species has to assert control in a primitive but an effective way. This is only true in the case of high risk of physical harm, but I trust your judgment here, and tinpot tyrants deserve immediate challenge. As we say around here, “Sic semper tyrannis.”

  4. The whole purpose in plaiting a child’s hair is to make her look well cared for and feeling good about herself. The teacher chopped off a portion of this child’s hair thus making her appear unkempt, unattractive, and no longer feeling good about herself. She chose to take this action in front of the class thus adding the ridicule of others to the child’s misery. Her willful physical abuse and public violation of the child’s dignity was complete.

    It is strange that her position as teacher in the classroom should protect her from criminal prosecution. Had she been in any other setting such as a grocery store, public pool, public library, doctor’s office, church, neighborhood street, etc and taken scissors to a child’s hair because she was “frustrated”, I can’t imagine that all she would suffer was a fine without criminal charges. Is whomever protected this woman now her accomplice?

  5. the thing that is really getting to me, in addtion to the obvious here-
    what did she use to cut this child’s hair?
    what if the little girl had moved or jumped?

  6. To compare pinning down a teacher and forcably cutting off her hair to anything the founding fathers did doesn’t seem realistic to me. You are speaking about a situation with many different options yet what you propose will require harm to another person and will leave your daughter and the rest of yourfamily in a bad situation.

    You can file a civil action against the teacher and the school. You can protest outside her home and the school along with other people who are concerned that this woman is teaching at the school. You can object at the school board meeting. You can go to a mediator and try to resolve this issue. There is no need to resort to violence, so why would you?

    Now let’s look at how violence plays out in the situation you describe. In order to cut the hair off an adult woman, you will need to subdue her, most likely, rather forcefully, You will need to stalk her to pick your time or perhaps you would just like to do this in front of her class at school. You will then need a knife or scissors to accomplish your task. While you are struggling with a sharp object, is there a guarantee that you will not puncture her eye or a vital organ? No, not really, if you are honest. Then you are looking at some serious time for murder or attempted murder. You would also be looking at serious time for stalking/possible kidnapping (a federal crime). You may wound yourself during the attack and face a medical bill you cannot afford. You too might get the wrong organ punctured and die.

    Looking at these actions, why do choose the one action with the worst possible outcomes in the name of “helping” your daughter? Are you really helping her. Do you really have no other options that will show her you value her, without committing violence to another human being? I just named several viable options. I am sorry that you feel the best way to redress this wrong is by committing another. (We will not agree on this I’m sure.)

  7. I would not call it vigilantism. I would call it corrective action, but I could live with that.

    Perhaps it would not take me chopping into someones hair like Bugs Bunny on steroids, but I would none the less.

    My daughter is 25 now, and I would still correct an action taken by another against her.

    When my daughter was in high school,she would not pitch for the coaches traveling softball team. He was petty, and benched her at about 4 of the school games, and she wanted to quit. I would not let her. It was not fair, but I explained sometimes in life some things are not fair; however you keep trying.

    They lost a game that she sat the bench on, and he had the team running drills after the game. After about 10 minutes the girls were dragging, so I told him that was enough. He said he was the coach, and would decide when it was enough, and they had not played as a team, so they could run as one. I said I did not have a problem with that, but since he was the coach he’d better join the team, or I would come over the fence, and make him run with his team. I did not have to beat his ass, and they did stop running right then. Why because he knew by my actions, and demeanor that it was not an idle threat.

    My daughter started playing again, and learned that sometimes things in life are not fair, but a corrective action can correct an unfair situation.

    That sounds like something the founding fathers had to do against King George III, thereby creating the United States. I guess they were just a bunch of vigilantes, and did not take the correct action.

  8. Elaine:

    part of the problem is adults think children are little adults. For example with table manners, a child isnt strong enough to hold his knife correctly while eating, they need that extra leverage. There are many other examples but that is one that comes to mind.

  9. Byron–

    I’m sure those children WILL think twice about playing with their hair.

    I saw students do all kinds of things during more than thirty years of teaching: chew on the ends of their shirt sleeves…chew on the necklines of their shirts…chew on ballpoint pens until they had ink all over their mouths…pick their noses…sneeze in my face without covering their mouths…decorate their hands/lower arms with markers…snap pencils in two…eat the tadpole food…rub yellow chalk on their teeth. I could go on. I’d speak to my students about such behaviors–but I wouldn’t humiliate them in front of their classmates…nor would I punish them for them. Sometimes I was able to joke with them about what they had done.

    It really helps to have a great sense of humor when you are a teacher. I don’t think I would have survived if I didn’t. In addition, it’s good to remember what you were like when you were a kid. Besides, even adults, have annoying habits.

  10. Wow, I hope this teacher never catches any of her boy students playing with their… well, you know…

  11. Elaine:

    I agree but I bet those other kids wont play with their hair.

    That was a bad attempt at a little humor.

  12. The powers that be in that school system handled the situation poorly when they allowed the teacher to remain in the classroom and removed Lamya. They sent a terrible message to Lamya’s classmates. They left the children with the impression that their teacher had acted appropriately when she cut off some of Lamya’s hair.

    We teach best by the actions we take and by the examples we set. In my opinion, that teacher set a poor example for her students–and the administrators in the Milwaukee Public Schools taught the children in their charge the wrong thing.

  13. MacK,

    I appreciate your keeping it to ideas although I thought the last line was unnecessary. If you keep to ideas, that will be clear and it won’t be necessary to mention that in your post. Here is what you wrote:

    “If I was daddy there would be criminal charges of battery, after this teachers hair was looking like a 7 year old cut it.”

    You are saying that you will go and attack the teacher and chop up her hair. That is a vigilante action. You are showing your child that one person has the right to beat up another person if they are in some way physically strong enough to do so. This means Might makes Right. That is a destructive message for a child. It is the message the US is bludgeoning the rest of the world with right now. It is the justification for every bully. Your daughter doesn’t need to see her father beat anyone up or to get a criminal charge for her to see her being defending against wrongdoing by the teacher. I know someone who went vigilante and he’s now in jail for 6 years. Had it been 6 months, it would have been devastating to the financial and emotional well-being of his children, as it is 6 years, they lie in ruin.

  14. And I should care what you think why exactly, George?

    I hope you die old and alone? Simply because you dislike my tactics in dealing with someone under skilled at argument accusing me of sexism? I’m thinking your kids love you too, you cuddly Care Bear you.

    Seriously. I don’t care if you dislike logic or my tactics. I don’t work for you or your pleasure, sport. I’m not for the thinned skinned. Warning: Adult Content. Poke me and draw back a stump. The right to ignore applies to you too. If you want to accuse me of sexism, I’ll be glad to dismantle you too. If you expect me to be nice about it? Well people are disappointed all the time. The “Is Laughing” should be a clue I didn’t mean “Is Smiling”.

    I’m not angry at all though. That’d be you projecting your reaction. I’ve been angry in this forum exactly twice and I can detail both times. I’m a very slow to anger kind of guy and you should learn to distinguish a style from a substance. And jerk is a matter of opinion. I’ve stipulated before I can be a bastard so you just go right on with that “jerk” assessment. You are entitled to your opinion. You know what opinions are like too. You’re sitting on one. Just like my opinion you’re aiding that lovely double standard that women are somehow more “special” than men by rushing to poor lil’ female Jill’s defense. She’s a big girl and she stepped in this pile of sexism allegations herself. She can get out of it or not. Unless big ol’ George is gonna rush to her rescue from the big bad WORDS. Unless you think she’s incapable?

    Grow up.

    No one is special. Not me, not you, not Jill, not Obama, not Bush. No one is special. Not men. Not women. Except in their own minds.

    So you chastise all you want. It’s funny. You know. On a logical level.

  15. Jill you said, “Cutting off the teacher’s hair or harming her in some other way will send precisely the wrong message to this little girl–that it is O.K. for a stronger person to hurt a weaker person.”

    I actually think that my message to my daughter would be this. I will stand up for you, defend you, and take what action is necessary to prevent that person, or others actions from repeating an assault on you.

    The teacher already has shown her, the bigger, and stronger can, and will hurt the weaker if allowed, I’ll show her, that I would not ALLOW it more then once.

    You said, “Having the woman face charges, that will help this girl and stop her from abusing any other child.”

    I feel this message to the child would be, that only big brother can defend, and protect you. I for one will never let my child feel that only the government is meant to protect us, I have, and will continue to teach my child that we as individuals have, and can protect ourselves without government approval.

    One reason for this is the story plainly states that she was fined, and would face no charges. That is the government not doing what you wanted, by not having her face charges.

    I’m just trying to convey my points, not attacking you personally, so you can keep reading my posts.

  16. Buddha,

    I’ll be ignoring your posts too.

    I don’t post often these days as I am busy, but the attitude you’ve shown with Jill is beyond disgusting. I’m sorry your child died recently, but this isn’t the place to take out your anger. As you said in the past, you have employees for that, if any of them are left.

    And go on any tirade you want about me. Call me all the names you want. WHATEVER you say, we all know that you are an angry jerk, at least right now.

    Keep being that way, though. It really works out well when you are old, alone and dying in a nursing home.


  17. FYI. In Wisconsin, disorderly conduct is a criminal charge punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

    The article seems to think that, just because she did not actually spend time in jail, she was not charged with a crime. Not true.

    Be careful before putting your faith in channel 11, Milwaukee. It’s hardly gospel.

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