He felt enormous pressure, but the family wasn't going to just leave Swat.
That was not what he was teaching his children.
"(The Taliban) left my people in hard days," he said, trying to find the right words in English.
"I should be beside them. This is my duty. And if I die for it, I think there would be no better chance for me to die than this."
Hundreds of schools torched
It was, without a doubt, a huge risk to educate girls in Swat around this time.
One need only look at the headlines in the region. "Militants destroyed 125 girls' schools in 10 months,' the Pakistan newspaper Daily Times reported in August 2008.
Human rights workers and aid agencies held a seminar in the area in 2008 to try to voice their concerns. They said Pakistani politicians and leaders were not listening.
Between 2007 and March 2009, 172 schools were shelled, blasted, demolished or ransacked. About 23,000 girls and 17,000 boys could no longer go to school, according to the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.
In October 2010, months after massive floods caused widespread devastation in Pakistan, the Taliban stepped up its bombing campaign against schools that defiantly continued to educate girls.
For girls who weren't hurt, fear that they would be accomplished the Taliban's objective. Parents kept their daughters home to protect them.
In her BBC blog, Malala wrote on the eve of the edict that she had just ended her routine winter break from school. Usually before break, the principal would announce when classes would resume.
But this time, the principal didn't.
"I was in a bad mood," Malala blogged.
Vacation was normally fun but no one was in the mood to celebrate.
But what do you do when you're 11? You go to the playground and you play, so that's what they did.
Some of the girls said they thought everything would work out. They'd be back, they said.
Malala wanted to be hopeful, too. But before she left, she turned around and took one long look at the building.
Ice cream and diplomacy
Malala was right about the edict and what it meant.