Speaking with a little sass and a lot of passion, “Glee” actress Lauren Potter stole the show when she joined forces with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to say “enough is enough” to bullying special-needs children.
“I was a victim of bullying,” said Miss Potter, who has Down syndrome and portrays cheerleader Becky Jackson the hit Fox television series. “When I was in my old school, a group of boys starting teasing me and calling me names.”
Forcing back tears, Miss Potter said that this incident was not uncommon when she was in school, and that the other students “thought it was OK, just because I looked different than they did.”
“They didnt think they would get in trouble because I was just a Down’s girl,” she said. “But this Down’s girl spoke up, and told those boys that called me names to grow up. Everyone seemed shocked.”
Miss Potter, 20, was on Capitol Hill to help mark the release of “Walk a Mile In Their Shoes,” a new report on bullying of special-needs children.
Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, described the report as a call to action.
“This type of bullying has fallen under the radar screen for far too long,” she said. “For special-needs students who already face tremendous challenges, adding this extra burden is fundamentally unacceptable.”
Ms. Speier said that she plans to introduce legislation that would require federally funded schools to report the number of incidents regarding bullying, and whether those incidents included students with special needs.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington Republican, said that she was speaking as the proud mother of a 4-year-old Down syndrome boy “who just happened to be born with that extra 21st chromosome.”
She said that she was grateful for the community that opened its arms to her when her son was born, and believes there are more opportunities for her son than ever.
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