PHOTO: Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden is expected to discuss school safety and vaping during his discussion at the Pastors for Tennessee Children event on Oct. 30. / File photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
The heads of the two school districts in Williamson County will engage in discussion on how faith leaders can support their local schools as the organization Pastors for Tennessee Children hosts a forum Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 10-11 a.m. at Franklin First United Methodist Church.
Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden and Franklin Special School District Director of Schools David Snowden will each share their perspectives, and clergy and faith leaders of all religious affiliations are invited to attend and share their insights.
Brad Fiscus, a board member on Pastors for Tennessee Children and a member of the WCS Board of Education, will facilitate the discussion. He is also director of Next Gen Discipleship ministry in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and is an Independent running against Rep. Glen Casada for the District 63 seat in the Tennessee State Legislature in 2020.
“Because of my role with the United Methodist Church and being on the school board, several pastors wanted to know if I could arrange a meeting with Jason,” Fiscus said of how the event came together. “We wanted to have David Snowden as well to represent the other school district in the county. We have a broad invitation to all faith communities for an opportunity to hear both of them.
We have specifically targeted clergy and faith leaders, but anyone is invited. Jason wants to talk about school safety and vaping, things that affect the community where clergy leaders might have some influence with their congregations in terms of helping to remind parents about community engagement and so on.”
Golden and Snowden will each have 15-20 minutes to speak, followed by a discussion period among the audience.
Pastors for Tennessee Children is an independent ministry and outreach group comprised of pastors and church leaders from across the state, mobilizing faith communities in Tennessee to support quality public education opportunities for all Tennessee children. It seeks to ensure God’s common good in the world by lifting up and serving all children in communities, according to Fiscus.
“Our main purpose with Pastors for Tennessee Children is to make sure we’re helping communities, through faith leadership, understand they have an important role in ensuring that all children have access to public education.”
Fiscus is an advocate for the separation of church and state, and he is particularly vocal against public funding for vouchers and charter schools.
“Some people think that’s antithetical, that pastors would be for the availability of religious education groups to have access to vouchers and so on,” he said. “But we (Pastors for Tennessee Children) believe in the separation of church and state, so we believe public tax dollars should provide for the public good as opposed to funds to go to private education.”
Fiscus said Pastors for Tennessee Children held a similar event earlier this school year in Chattanooga. Franklin First UMC is located at 120 Aldersgate Way in Franklin.