Asheville City Schools’ statement regarding former employee, reminder of community resources

Press release from Asheville City Schools:

Asheville City Schools stands in solidarity with those who have experienced sexual violence and its aftermath.  Through our policies and through our actions, we stand committed to creating safer spaces for all individuals.

We are disturbed to learn about the recent allegations involving a former employee.  Richard Phelps resigned from Asheville City Schools on September 19, 2017 — prior to the date of the allegations.  However, should the Yancey County Sheriff’s Department or State Bureau of Investigation need support from Asheville City Schools, we will fully cooperate.  At this time, they have not reached out. 

We know situations like this can be triggering or retriggering; therefore, we wanted to let you know the district’s response as well as remind you of several important community resources.  

Our District Crisis Team has formulated a plan to support students and staff, and counselors will be available should a member of our Cougar Family need additional support.

For several years, Asheville City Schools has worked closely with Our Voice to provide direct services as well as work toward creating healthier communities through preventive education.  With that in mind, if you have concerns about your child, please contact their 24-hour hotline at (828) 255-7576 or text VOICE or VOZ to 85511.  

Additionally, please know the Buncombe County Family Justice Center is a safe space where victims of sexual assault – and other forms of abuse – can receive support.  For a walk-in appointment, visit their offices, located at 35 Woodfin Street in Downtown Asheville.  Or, call (828) 250-6900 to schedule an appointment. 

Victims of abuse can also contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.