What I Would Say If I Could

What you took away with your error:

Trust. Friendship. Education. Love. Accountability. Faith.

What you didn’t hear:

Danger. Toxicity. Neglect. Ignorance. Hate tactics.

What we have lost:

The connection of the Kabul airport that they shared. The trauma of it–of suddenly being ripped from the only home they had ever known, of fearing the Taliban would come for them next, or their mother, their father, their faith in humanity. The collective trauma that bonded them together and allowed them a communication that none of us could fathom. A connection, through Dari, Islam, and kindness, brought to her by her paraprofessional interpreter. A confessional for her to share how horrid her foster mother was. An English classroom where all her friends are, where her teacher loves her and wants to help her. The relationships with her peers who now can’t understand the reasons behind her choice.

YOU are the reason behind her choice. You broke your professional commitment to a system we have in place that is meant to protect children, and you gave power to the toxicity of a human not fit to be a mother to anyone, let alone a fragile, motherless child. You sided with lies instead of the truth, and everyone will suffer because of it. Especially her. Especially this girl whose mother was murdered by the Taliban, whose foster mom has stripped her of her religion, language, and connection to her culture, who has manipulated and molded her to be a completely different human being because she was too fragile to say no to her.

I will never forgive you for all those hours you spent in my house, looking me in the eye, holding my foster son accountable, asking me point blank if I’d had enough, listening to me, trusting my judgment, only for, one year later, for you never to trust me again.

I have been teaching for more than twenty years. I have seen belt marks on children. I have heard stories of sexual abuse. I have called to report starvation, emotional abuse, neglect, alcoholism, and drug addiction. I have done my job to protect the children who shuffle in and out of my life year after year.

And I thought you could do yours.

YOUR JOB IS TO PROTECT CHILDREN.

So is mine.

Only one of us is doing it right today.

And it is not you.

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