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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Many Witnesses. No Witnesses. (KW is not me)

I think about the 2009-2010 school year a lot. Repeat. Repeat. Rewind. Rewind. I think about his face. His eyes squinted, for instance, leering.

Once, at the end of 2008-2009 school year, I followed him in my car to our eighth grade prom. He, I, and others were to chaperone the event. I didn't know where the hotel was, so I followed him. He was the first to arrive. I was, of course--because I was following him--the second to arrive. Both he and I valet parked our cars. In the foyer of the hotel, champagne was served; not for our students' prom, but for the hotel's guests. He offered me a glass. I refused. He looked out over the ocean...and then at me. He said, pursing his lips: "This is where I got my first kiss."

There were no witnesses. But it happened.

Days later at his Monday morning leadership meeting--I arrived late--our assistant principal flounced by me and blurted out," I should have slept with him five years ago."

There were two witnesses. The assistant principal will most assuredly say it did not happen. The other witness won't either. They're both scared.

I offer this story to you without artifice. I offer it in the hopes of being cleansed of the dirt still adhering to me. It's there. My thoughts. Him.

More. More and more. I must get this out. I must "put this behind me." It has, after all, been almost three years.

It is so hard for me to put into words this welling of emotion. I am not up to it. I am not capable of poetically portraying this pain.

I am outraged. I am disgusted. I am different. I am the same.

I think I am most disgusted with myself and my own naivety. I trotted through most of my life--until the day, at age 52, when I paused, breathed deeply, planted a smile on my nervousness, opened my new school's doors and entered....in blissful ignorance of evil.

The custodian--I swear this is true--said to me when he met me: "Hay una batalla espiritual aqui. Estas aqui para ganarla."

I just wanted to go to work.

His face.

His words.

His actions.

When I first, first, first started there and he heard me speak Spanish he said to his assistant principal, "We can use that." That statement was not just about my ease in speaking Spanish, it was about ME. I was the "that." I knew it then. I knew he saw me as a "something."

His words. My brute made me write a referral about a girl for whom I'd searched. She'd skipped class. She was so vulnerable. She was so sad. She trusted me. I found her. I took her into the main office so that she and I could talk privately. He saw me with her. IN HER PRESENCE--he did not acknowledge her--he said to me "Write her up." I said, "I don't want to." He said: "YOU WILL BECAUSE I TOLD YOU TO."

He needed documents to get her out. I wrote the referral. I did not put his words down. I put my own in hopes it would make a difference. It didn't. He just needed the referral.

I am sorry girl who trusted me. Girl who I betrayed.

His face. Spittle. Screaming. Children with their heads bowed. "SHUT UP!!!"

It's ironic that he accuses his targets of the same.

"I hope they beat her ass." This when I went to him about a distraught student. She'd defaced a bathroom stall. I'd called her parents.

There were two witnesses. Me and a teacher friend of his. She later would be accused of bullying a student so she probably would deny it too. That's the case for which I was called to testify on behalf of the plaintiff.

Ah. This is fine leadership according to my district. This is the best we have.

"Do you have any witnesses?" I was anxiously asked by my region's administrator when I spoke with him the first days following my medical leave. I was alone. I was scared. I didn't have yet knowledge of the depths of the hell this man had wrought in other lives.

I didn't know to whom to turn. I'd met this regional administrator. I thought he was nice enough. That administrator, though, is my former principal's friend. Didn't know that then. He evaluated--and highly--my brute year after year after year....in spite of cries for help from those of us working for him. Found that out later with public records requests.

"Yes. You are one of them. You heard him. You heard him screaming at me to fraudulently fill out documents. That's illegal right?"

"JESUS CHRIST! WHY CAN'T YOU STAY OUT OF THINGS?!" This at a leadership meeting. Some of those other "witnesses" were there. Two assistant principals, a reading coach, and the other counselor. His good friend. That's the time she then said, "When are we going to have that talk with Kim?"

"I'll decide when..." That was his response.

All either chose not to respond or denied it happened. So having witnesses means--at that school anyway--not having any.

I was imprisioned unjustly at that school. Imprisoned by my district. They have known of his abuses for many years.

We hear of sexual abuse in prisons. Men raping men in places of "rehabilitation". I was emotionally raped. It's hard for me to put those words down. Hard....excruciatingly hard. "The truth will set you free." I want to be free.

I am not alone in that. There is much pain and little recovery for so many.

Not one of the witnesses remembered the "JESUS CHRIST!" moment. That moment, however, is a slow motion moment for me. Him at the conference table surrounded by "his ladies:" all professional and well educated women. All, but one, were scared out of their minds at the unleashed potential for arbitrary destruction he'd been given by our district.

Me entering with great fear and foreboding. Me stating that if he continued to speak to me that way I would have the union witness it.

Me not yet having a clue yet as to the shattered lives of others. That would come later with public records requests.

I revisited my drawer full of documents. I hadn't done that in a while. Whispered pleas, I swear, escape. Shouted accusations too. HOW DARE YOU?! I NEEDED HELP IN 2008! AND NO ONE HELPED ME! I WILL NOT HELP YOU NOW!

My response. I am so sorry. So sorry. Sorry this happened to you. Sorry it happened to ML, KW and to me. You and KW got the worst of it. Health and jobs lost. I am so sorry.

More. More. More. To come.
5:31 am est          Comments

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