FSSD Releases Statement Following Chairman’s Controversial Social Media Post

Tim Stillings FSSD

Franklin Special School District (FSSD) has issued a statement following a controversial social media post made by FSSD School Board Chairman Tim Stillings.

Williamson Source did not see the social media post before it was deleted; however, numerous news organizations, report that Stillings shared a meme that said, “7 NFL players fathered 68 kids with 52 different women. Maybe the knee isn’t the problem.”

It is reported that the social media post was quickly deleted and Stillings posted an apology. Stillings’ apology stated  “Today, in a span of less than 5 seconds, I read someone’s posting and then, without any further thought of the implications of the post, hit the ‘share’ button,” he wrote on Friday. “Shortly thereafter, when I learned that someone for whom I have much respect for had taken offense to it, I immediately removed it and then tried to gain an understanding as to why they were offended,” reports Williamson Herald.

In response, the Franklin Special School District has issued the following statement:

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.

About Tim Stillings

From the FSSD site:

First elected in 1998, Tim Stillings is serving his fifth four-year term on the board. He is the School Board Chairman, with previous service including official appointments as Board Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice Chairman. For several years, Mr. Stillings was the Board-appointed delegate on the Tennessee Legislative Network, monitoring education-related pending legislation in the State Legislature, and advocating with the Legislative delegation that represents families served by the FSSD. Click here for more.

The Franklin Special School District serves 3,700 PreK – 8th grade students in eight schools. Its boundaries encompass the greater Franklin area.

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