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From the Superintendent's Desk: The Impact of the Death of George Floyd on our Community

The current anger, fear, and racial divide in this country resulting from the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd is having a significant negative impact on many children, as well as adults, in Asheville City Schools and our community.  We live in a nation that explicitly names freedom and liberty as key tenets for all people. However, we know that these are not shared experiences for everyone who lives here.  

Asheville City Schools is actively working to eliminate bigotry and inequities caused by individual and institutional racism.  As your Superintendent, my highest priority is to provide a safe, caring environment for all students, staff and faculty members.  We recognize how painful this senseless tragedy is for many members of our community. Our children are watching and learning.  Excellence with equity must be more than our motto; it must be in the DNA of how our district operates.  

I am particularly concerned about what our Black and Brown children experience in our schools, neighborhoods and city.  I am committed to listening and learning as we continue to break down systems of racial injustice and oppression.  Your children may have heard about or even seen the appalling video of Mr. Floyd’s murder. They may also have questions about the protests and riots that have followed.  If you would like to talk with someone, please know that you are able to contact your child's teacher or any school administrator.  Additionally, please reach out to our Student Services Department (ie. school counselors, school psychologists, school social worker) by calling (828) 350-6133 for additional support. 

Trauma of this magnitude is a reminder that while our students and families may live next door to one another, they experience different worlds due to historic and present day racism. Our challenge as a school system is to end racism in our schools by centering the experience of our students of color.  As I reflect on recent events and see the injustice, please understand that Asheville City Schools pledges to join leaders in our community and country in not only having courageous conversations but, more importantly, developing and carrying out actions that actually move the needle and have a positive impact on our students of color. Our actions must speak louder than our words.

In Collaboration,
Dr. Gene Freeman, Superintendent