College Urged For ‘Glee’ Character With Down Syndrome
When students on Fox’s “Glee” graduated this season, many considered college. Now a Twitter campaign is calling on the show’s writers to make the same plan for a character with Down syndrome.
Using the hashtag #College4Becky, a social media push launching this week is encouraging the “Glee” writers to send Becky Jackson to college at the end of the show’s next season. Though the character is believed to be a rising high school senior, little has been said about her future.
“All of Becky’s friends on the show are heading off to college next year. That’s something she can do too — but we haven’t yet heard what her plans are after graduation,” reads an open letter to the writers of “Glee” from the campaign’s organizers at Think College, a national clearinghouse on college options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that’s housed at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
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“If you make college plans for Becky, you’ll be raising the expectations of all your viewers with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities,” the letter reads.
Currently, Think College’s database lists 199 postsecondary programs at colleges and universities across the country specifically for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nonetheless, awareness of college options for this population often remains limited.
“We want to plant a seed,” said Meg Grigal, the co-director of the group behind the campaign. “College is a real option for people with intellectual disabilities.”
Lauren Potter, 22, the actress with Down syndrome who plays Becky Jackson on “Glee,” attends Irvine Valley College in Irvine, Calif. in real life.
“I know she will love the idea (of Becky going to college) because she loves the idea that she is in college,” Potter’s mother, Robin Sinkhorn, told Disability Scoop, adding that she had not yet had an opportunity to discuss the campaign with her daughter who was traveling Monday. “It would be a great storyline.”
Potter’s character has long been a fan favorite in the disability community and the actress has not shied away from taking a stand. She’s used her platform as a “Glee” cast member to raise awareness about bullying of people with disabilities among other issues and currently serves as a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Officials at Fox did not respond to a request for comment about the Twitter campaign.
“Glee” returns Sept. 13 on Fox.
Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that not all characters on “Glee” indicated plans to attend college.