The show this weekend went really well and I had so much fun connecting with old and new friends.
Sunday, I read an article in the Huffington Post, and with their permission, I have included a link to the article. I then spent the next two days drafting this letter that I have sent to the Fox network, and which I would like to share with you.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my correspondence.
I have watched your show, Glee, in the past and enjoyed a lot of the shows. All though, I have to admit, I feel the show has gone the route of bordering on ridiculous and have not watched it in quite a while.
Yesterday, I read the article written by Jessica Zaleski in the Huffington Post about your Shooting Star episode. This caught my attention as I am a mother of an 18 yr. old daughter with Down Syndrome. The people involved in the episode answered the question "Why use Lauren Potter's character to be the school shooter?" with "Why not?"
I would like to answer your why not.
First off, while the reason Adam Lanza did what he did is still being searched out, the thought around mental illness, Autism and Asperger's are being thrown into the ring of reasons why people kill. You have added the diagnosis of Down Syndrome to that ring. Essentially, you have taken years and years of progress for our children with Down Syndrome and set it back. Fear of disabilities, and people with disabilities grow quickly with episodes such as Shooting Star.
My daughter, Brenna, is a lot like Lauren Potter's character. My child is a junior in high school, a fully integrated member of her school. She participates in classes, has a job on campus, participates in numerous extra curricular activities and is a member of the swim team.
Is my daughter scared at times of what lies ahead? I would honestly say she is nervous about it at times and is not looking forward to the time when people she loves and knows graduate and not being with them on campus every day. Is my child capable of taking a gun to school and shooting someone because of those fears? Not in a million years. We as a family and as a community work very, very hard to make sure she is safe. We work hard to make sure if she has fears that she is capable of telling us those fears.
But I do believe she could be coerced, which is how I feel Lauren Potter has been handled. Isn't it all about ratings? What if she had said no? Would you have picked some other disenfranchised student to have the gun? Why in heaven's name must you air this in the first place? I think we got the message with 24 hour news coverage during the shooting in Newtown.
The fact that Lauren Potter's character took a gun to school because she was scared and didn't know what would happen after high school is utterly ridiculous. Now you have people thinking that not only are people with disabilities capable of mass school shootings, but people who are scared as well.
How much sense does this make? Why is it you feel you have to perpetuate this, and perpetuate it through a person with a disability?
Why could you not produce a show that shows just exactly what work DOES go into a child like Lauren Potter after high school? We begin when our kids are at a young age to formulate transition plans, we have IEP's, we discuss the future with our children as best as they are able, we as parents agonize over how to get them ready for some kind of independence. It is constantly on our minds and the minds of their teachers. Where is the special ed teacher for the character of Becky on your show? Do you have any idea of the work they put into their students? Does ANYone on your team have a child with disabilities?
Brenna is indeed, looking forward to some of the possibilities that await her after graduation, and that is what we will focus on. Not guns. Not being alone with your fears to the point of taking drastic measures. Not television shows that put our children in a bad light.
Thank you for your time,