September 5, 2020

Members of the Franklin Special School District Community:

We, the members of the Board of Education of the Franklin Special School District, are aware of a controversial posting on social media by Tim Stillings, who serves as an elected, at-large member of the Board of Education. The now-deleted posting does not bear any endorsement from the Board and does not represent or reflect the values and beliefs of the Franklin Special School District. The members of the Board, the Director of Schools and Mr. Stillings appreciate the many phone calls, personal remarks and emails we have received over the past two days about this posting. We agree with many others who found the posting inappropriate and offensive and we have all expressed these sentiments to Mr. Stillings and to the Director of Schools. While it was posted on his personal account, there is no place in our society where comments such as those he posted, even in jest, are acceptable. As an elected public official and chairman of our school board, we hold Mr. Stillings – as well as ourselves – to a higher degree of accountability. Moving forward, the Board encourages Mr. Stillings to listen, learn and understand more about how such microaggressions can harm public trust and create divisiveness. Mr. Stillings has removed the offensive post and replaced it with an apology and a promise to speak directly to those who would like to share their thoughts with him.

The FSSD Board of Education has a diverse membership from many different walks of life. Our range of voices and perspectives enable us to have meaningful conversations around difficult topics. We are also proud of the extraordinary effort it takes to be a perennial Tennessee School Boards Association Board of Distinction. A large part of that honor is derived from the many hours of professional learning in which we all participate to become better public servants. This event, while unfortunate, shines a light on the need for more conversation and growth in the areas of racial sensitivity and awareness. The Board will continue to work together, alongside members of our community, district staff, and students, to strengthen the social emotional influences that we can provide to of all members of the Franklin Special School District family.

Alicia Barker                        Allena Bell                              Robert Blair
 Robin Newman                   Kevin Townsel                       Tim Stillings