Letter: A parent’s frustration at Asheville City Schools

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Just this morning, as I was going through sight words with my kindergartner at our dining room table, I became very frustrated at the fact that I have now been a teacher, along with a parent and a full-time health care provider, for almost a year now.

In my frustration, I shared my feelings with my kindergartner regarding the recent decision of Asheville City Schools to, yet again, delay in-person learning. Soon thereafter my kindergartner logged on for his virtual morning meeting on Google Meet. He promptly proceeded to share my feelings with his teacher and his entire class stating, after raising his hand and being called on, “My mom is mad at you.” I shouted from the kitchen, “I’m not mad at your teacher,” and he corrected himself and said, “My mom is mad at the school. We should be in school.”

Below is the email I wrote to his teacher explaining my feelings.

“Subject: An explanation …

Good morning!

Gosh, that was embarrassing …

I wanted to write to clarify how I am feeling. I hope you know that I am certainly not mad at you and know you likely feel as frustrated as we parents do. I was frustrated with [my son] this morning when he was guessing on his sight words and had a little outburst, which he misconstrued and thought I meant I was upset with you and with [his school], which I am not.

I am, however, very frustrated with how ACS has handled the situation. I feel that they have failed our children and their families, in keeping the children virtual for almost a year now. As a frontline essential worker, who has not stopped working with the community in-person from the beginning of all of this (and who has yet to contract COVID), I know that kids could have gone back to school safely in August and that they should have gone back at that time.

I am not arguing that our kids shouldn’t be home now, as the numbers are high and the hospitals are overwhelmed, but I am upset that they were not in school when community spread was low. All the research shows that kids in schools have not contributed to community spread. I have every hope that in-person learning will resume in March, as planned, but very highly doubt it with all the delays and postponements we have experienced thus far. It’s disheartening.

All of this has been increasingly frustrating as tourists flock to our city and downtown is packed. People are eating at restaurants, drinking at bars and shopping for pleasure, but our kids aren’t in school. It has reflected the values and priorities of this town to me in a disturbing glare — money is more important than our kids and their education.

So you’ve heard my rant, and I apologize for that and [my son’s] comment this morning. I know you had nothing to do with any of these decisions and that you might even agree with all of the above. I also imagine that this has been very difficult for you. We appreciate you and all you’re doing for our kids.”

— Katie Lillethun


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

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.

5 thoughts on “Letter: A parent’s frustration at Asheville City Schools

  1. Jay

    While i feel sorry for parents who never had the foresight to anticipate that their children (whom they chose to have!) could one day be w/out state run daycare. W/as many “shut downs/closures” that the government has had to implement , this pandemic has already KILLED nearly half a million people in this country alone…. Suck it up buttercup!

  2. Clay

    Maybe we should consider teachers frontline workers and give them the opportunity for the vaccine now.

  3. Matt Lupfer

    I’m a parent of two ACS students and I agree with Katie. I’m extremely disappointed in the superintendent and Board. Schools are operating safely in areas much more impacted by COVID. My kids are 3 and 7 and remote learning is not a substitute.

    Thank you for speaking up, Katie. Also, thank you for your important work keeping our community healthy.

  4. Enlightened Enigma

    Asheville parents will do their children a HUGE favor to remove them from the ACS indoctrination of low self esteem, rewritten history, and hateful indoctrinations of anti Americanism. BLM member teachers are NOT good for YOUR children !!!

    Get YOUR child out of ACS as FAST as you CAN !!!

  5. Lou

    Had America been under the leadership of a genuinely qualified individual and not QAnon, schools and businesses could be fully opened by now. Blame the orangutan who failed our country like he failed his businesses and “students” at Trump U.

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.