I just finished watching yesterday’s Glee and my initial reaction was “Best Glee ever!” Sometimes, I admit, I only pay attention to the show long enough to catch the songs and productions as the storyline loses me about 50% of the time. Yesterday’s show, however, had the delightful combination of meaningful story combined with great music, a fabulous guest (Carol Burnett), fun production numbers, and Sue Sylvester.
Through the entire show, I reflected on its messages about bullying, and about the inability of the school to protect this young man in any substantive way. That little dose of reality lent some gravitas to the show, and is sadly, too true. I applauded, in my own mind, Sue’s stance at the end, that she would rather resign the principal-ship in protest and serve as protective eyes in the hallways. But then, the end came, and Kurt announced he was leaving the school. He announced that he was escaping the bullying he was facing in the only way he could, by going to a school that has a zero tolerance policy. And my heart broke. And my anger was raised.
After that, I read one of my blog subscriptions, a woman who writes eloquently about Schooling Inequality, and has focused recently on the rash of gay suicides. Today she wrote about Queer Youth and Cultural Products, reflecting on the “It Gets Better Campaign”. Reading this entry made me think about Kurt as a Cultural Product. In many ways I think he is representing the struggle faced by GLBT youth daily in our country. But, for that reason, it makes me angrier that he has to run away; that his only hope for safety is to escape to a private boy’s school. This is probably a sad truth in many of the public schools that face bullying, but it is a disgusting truth. Schools can not, or maybe simply do not, do enough to protect these children. That is simply wrong! I hope, in the fictional world of television, that an alternative solution is found. At the same time, though, Glee tries in some ways to be true to the world as it exists, so I don’t know what that solution will be.
In Schooling Inequality, she also included this video, which could be such a powerful part of the solution.
Sadly, though, I see the fight to get this kind of programming into public schools as a long drawn out one.
I need to find a way to be part of the change that schools need. Lives are at stake.
- “Glee” captures raw emotion in “Furt” episode (hollywoodnews.com)