Asheville City and Buncombe Bounty associations of educators call for call for inclusive, safe schools

Press release from Buncombe County Association of Educators and Asheville City Association of Educators:

The Asheville City and Buncombe County Association of Educators represent public-school staff working in our schools across all buildings in our two school districts. Our school staff affect the lives of thousands of children in our community of every race, color, religion, background, zip code, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. Our associations recognize that ALL students hold value and are entitled to safe access to a free public education. Additionally, our districts employ many high-quality educators who are members of the LGBTQ community and are equally valued as members of our school community. All persons in our school community should be provided a safe learning and working environment free from discrimination or harrasment.

In recent months, the LGBTQ community in Buncombe County and Asheville City schools has been under increased tension as outside forces have questioned their representation within curricula and pedagogy in our schools.  During the November 16, 2022 school board meeting for Asheville City Schools, board member Peyton O’Connor was even attacked during public comment, simply for her gender identity.  This sexual harassment, including the repetitive and intentional misgendering of board member O’Connor, was nothing short of hate speech.

Harassment, bullying, and victimization in our schools, including school board meetings, creates a divisive and unsafe environment for all.  This is unacceptable.  ACAE and BCAE call upon the school districts and the community at large to support education that celebrates our different identities; model integrity in how we treat others; and demonstrate the courage to do what’s right by listening to, learning from and respecting diverse viewpoints. By creating a welcoming and safe school environment for our LGBTQ students, staff, families, and caregivers, we make our school community more welcoming and safe to all.  To join our work for safe, inclusive schools, visit

Buncombe County Association of Educators: BCAE is the professional organization for educators, public-school staff, and community allies working in the Buncombe County Schools district in North Carolina. BCAE represents dedicated staff across over 40 schools who work daily to improve the quality of education for Buncombe County students and families.

Asheville City Association of Educators: ACAE is the professional organization for educators, public-school staff, and community allies working in the Asheville City Schools district in North Carolina. ACAE represents dedicated staff across nine schools who serve over 4,000 students daily to improve the quality of education for Asheville City students and families.

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