Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Little Note To the Producers Of Glee.

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,
Lynn Richards


  1. So proud of you taking a stand!!!
    We had quit watching this show quite some time ago and it sounds like we did for good reason.
    I am with you on why tv and media need to push this crap. Why give this crap more attention for others to follow in horrible footsteps.
    Every word you wrote them is PERFECT!
    Ugh! I am just starting my battle with school and a disabled child and I can only hope to be as good as you at this one day Lynn!
    Thanks for making me a stronger mom and fight with all we have for what is right for our kids!

  2. Well said my friend. There are so many negative messages sent out on network television on a daily basis. Without voicing our opinions, I fear they will do little to change. Hopefully someone will forward your correspondence on to someone who will take your letter to heart and make the step to changing the way networks sensationalize their negative messages. What ever happened to the concept that watching television should be entertaining?
    Keep your feet firmly planted on that soapbox.

  3. This is why I don't watch TV except for news, American Idol, and The Big Bang Theory (pre-empted by AI). This takes my breath away in a very ugly way, that FOX would even condone a gun-totin' DS kid just for the sake of sensationalizing the plot and keeping up the ratings. This is so, so, so very wrong on every level possible. And I'm STILL coming off years of dealing with our mother every time she had CNN and FOX on. Now this? I think I will print out your blog post and MAIL it to the FOX people and the Glee producers. Just to reinforce what you're saying (and you did a beautiful job of it). <3

  4. I haven't seen the episode in question but I heard about it today when I saw part of an interview with the lady that plays 'Sue' on the show. She said she was surprised by the reaction the show got & that it was not their intention to bring anymore pain to the families of the Newton, CT victims. Nothing was said in the part of the interview I saw about the issues you raise here.

    You should post this on the Glee Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Glee?fref=ts
    They actually have more than one FB page & you should post this on all of them.
    And if the show's actors have public FB pages post it on all of them also.

  5. Way to go, Lynn!!
    I saw that they were doing the episode. I wasn't thrilled about it anyway, but now that you describe the scenario they used, I am even more opposed to it.

    My younger daughter loves GLEE. Me? Notsomuch a fan. I tried it, but when shows start trying to tell me how I'm supposed to think, they turn me off, even (especially) when they do it surreptitiously.

  6. Amazing letter! Lynn, I agree with you one thousand percent. I don't watch Glee and am horrified to hear that they aired a show like that. This is a great post, Fran T XO

  7. Such a powerful letter, Lynn...you said it all!

  8. Well said. I agree 100%. It'll beinteresting to see if you get any sort of response back...

  9. So proud that you took a stand against such negativity. I saw some of the episode while playing on my computer and thought it was very bazarre. The only reason I had the show on was it followed something else I had been watching. But I did wonder why the writers, directors, and/or producers would have an episode like this on, one that promoted fear and used the character, Lauren Potter, to be the villain. Utterly absurd. I hope and pray someone at Fox reads your message, and that they will realize a show like this episode is destructive vs. constructive. Well done, my friend!!!

  10. Bravo Lynn - thank you for your beautiful words and heartfelt post and taking a stand against negativity on TV and in the press.