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My Twelve-Year Support System in Public Schools

February 9
by
Kyasia Benjamin
in
Overcoming Challenges
with
.

Ever since I was a little kid my home life was not in the condition it should have been. From the time I was 9 until the summer before my 14th birthday I was abused. The only things I had were school, my baby brother, and music. School was my only safe place to be at, so I ended up spending a lot of my time there and my teachers tried to do everything that they could to help me to no avail for a long time, but when I moved back to Georgia everything changed.


When most people go home after school, they have some sort of mother figure around them to help them get through everything that life has to offer the best that she can. I however did not have that growing up at all. I did not know my mom and as far as I knew, she did not give a shit about me. My whole life I looked to my teachers trying to find that support system that I never had.

When I attended Unity Elementary School, all of my teachers looked out for me and truly cared even after my dad took me away from my nana which was the only happiness I had ever known. I remember my principal crying as she told my nana and aunt that they were not allowed to see me because my dad would not allow it. On the last day of third grade my teacher, Mrs. Moore held me as we both cried because I would not ever see her again and I believe that she sensed the trouble that was ahead for me.

That last day of school was the start of my five years of hell.

After I finished the third grade, I moved to Delaware with my dad and stepmother and things started out okay for the most part. I went to school and my teachers always had my best interest at heart, but my home life was another story. My dad and stepmother started fighting all of the time and it got to the point that I would go to school crying all of the time. The support from my teachers during this time helped me learn that the fighting was not my fault, but the turmoil that was to ensue was soon to come.

During my sixth grade year, my STEM teacher, Mr. Fragile started to notice my missed absences and my changing behavior, so he dared to ask me the question that my teachers have been wanting to ask me since I moved to Smyrna, DE, “Kyasia, have your parents been hitting you?” This was the beginning of many steps taken to ensure my safety over the next two years. The next two years would be the worst in my life and yet I would learn so much about myself and the teachers that I looked up to.

While in middle school, my Honors Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Prairie was the most supporting teacher I had had at this point in time. Every day she would make sure that I was alright and that things were okay at home. Most of my teachers at this point began to notice that I was having issues at home, but none of them knew the extent of these problems. I clearly remember Mrs. Prairie giving all of her graduating 8th graders her cell number and telling us to use it at any time we needed her. This was the 3rd time that someone actually cared and supported me since I was a little girl and over the years I would call her numerous times for advice or to just catch up. That summer after I graduated middle school, my dad told me that I was going to go to Georgia for the summer and here is where everything changed.

No one really understood my struggles until my freshman year of high school when I met Mrs. Slay. Mrs. Slay was my 9th grade English teacher and the first person I ever told my life story to without being ashamed.

The next couple of years would prove to be the most life changing for me because as I got to know my teachers and as I gained the courage to tell them my story, the more they began to support me and encourage me. During my junior year the biggest milestone of my entire life began to happen. After we came back from Christmas break, I finally got the opportunity to talk to my mother for the 1st time. The minute I told all of my teachers what had happened they were ecstatic for me and when I became nervous about meeting her my AP Language teacher told me not to worry because my mom would love me as I was and would be proud of me no matter what. The day I finally got to meet her was the happiest day of my life and I was able to share it with those teachers who supported me through it all.


Without the support that my teachers gave me throughout the years, I would not be here today. The support that I received from them is the exact same support that I want my students to receive from me when I become a teacher.

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