HomeNewsJMCSS plans to bring assemblies next semester to fight trafficking, suicide

JMCSS plans to bring assemblies next semester to fight trafficking, suicide

Jackson-Madison County Schools Deputy Superintendent Ricky Catlett spoke at a special meeting of local pastors and children’s ministry leaders at First Assembly of Jackson last week.

Garry Martin, the pastor at First Assembly, called the ministers together to work with JMCSS for a special project in the upcoming spring semester.

Catlett spoke to the ministers about how he and Martin got acquainted last summer when Martin shared concerns about a list of books that were in libraries in JMCSS schools.

“He was on (The Pastor Patriot with Grace Broadcasting) discussing this with our city councilman, J.P. Stovall, and I questioned what he was saying and texted in,” Catlett said. “I thought his information was incorrect, but he could prove to me it was.

“And we met after that and discussed the issue.”

Catlett told the ministers how Martin impressed him that he simply wanted to have a discussion and not an argument, like many who approach JMCSS leadership with similar concerns.

They addressed the issue, identified books that didn’t need to be in school libraries and had them removed.

Now Martin and Catlett are working together to bring a series of school assemblies to JMCSS schools in the spring.

Catlett invited Martin to bring a person named Jody Dyess, who is the director of Say Something Assembly, who came in and told what Catlett called a “heartbreaking” personal story within his own family that led him to do something to try to encourage students to grow up to become productive members of society and to thwart some students’ tendencies to consider suicide while also taking steps to discourage human trafficking.

“Administrators from every school in JMCSS were there, and I saw some getting emotional at the stories and the presentation,” Catlett said. “We need to get this in front as many students as possible throughout the district.”

The presentation was originally planned to be made in all of the middle schools, but leaders from both sides of the agreement said they see the necessity for all students to see it.

“So that’s what we’re going to do,” Martin said. “Over the course of a couple weeks in the spring at a date to be determined later, Say Something Assembly will be in Jackson making this presentation in every JMCSS school.”

Martin admitted that eventually he’ll be asking for help in sponsoring the effort, which will cost about $20,000 for two weeks of work. But he said he’s asking for commitments from churches throughout the city and county to have ministerial leaders ready at each assembly to speak with any young people that might need someone to talk to.

“This isn’t a gospel presentation or anything like that,” Catlett said. “But they will be talking about some serious stuff – serious stuff that a lot of these kids have dealt with that we don’t know about yet.

“And if they feel like they want to talk to someone, we want to make sure there are enough people there for each assembly that every child that needs to talk to someone has someone to talk to.”

Martin and Catlett said more details about the event will be forthcoming later this year and early next year before the group comes to town.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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