On radio this morning, Glenn reacted passionately to a disturbing story out of Plano, Texas involving a special needs student being tormented with threatening text messages by her classmates.
“The guy I was walking to work with [this morning] was giving me a briefing on some of the different stories in the news. He said, then there’s the story out of Plano, Texas, and I said, what story out of Plano, Texas,” Glenn explained on radio this morning. “A special needs high school student from Plano, Texas, has been subjected to vicious bullying, receiving a barrage of offensive text messages from strangers poking fun at her, threatening to rape and kill her.”
Shea Shawhan, 18, was born with a brain injury that has left her with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old. She can understand the text messages and it’s really breaking her mother’s heart. The mean and hurtful text messages have sparked a police investigation.
“Why are you still here? Clearly no one wants you. You only have special needs friends and you’re ugly and have terrible fashion sense. Honestly your clothes suck,” read some of the offensive text messages. “People at West don’t want her, that’s the reason she has seizures because that’s karma,” another text to Shea read.
“When they referenced her seizures and said I hope you have a seizure and die, are you kidding me? How could you be so evil and cold,” said Keri Riddell, Shea’s mother.
“If I were in West High School in Plano and I heard this today – if my children were there, if my children had a phone, I’d be going through their phone. In fact, I’d probably take their damn phone away. I want to make sure that you’re never part of that, and if I ever find out that you are, your life is going to be a living hell with me for quite some time,” Glenn said angrily. “I’m going to call Plano West High School today. I’m going to ask them if they would allow me to do a school assembly because I have a few things to say to those kids. I have a few things to show those kids. I have a few history lessons I’d like to give those kids. I’ll show you what this leads to. Really? We’re going to start making fun of the handicapped now, are we? That’s what we’re going to do? We’re going to start devaluing them? We’re going to start making them not really into people, just obstruction to us? I’ll report tomorrow on whether Plano West High School will allow me to come in and talk to the kids, have a school assembly.”
KDFW has since reported that Shea was able to attend her school’s homecoming, and students arrived at the event wearing t-shirts with messages like “I’ve got Shea’s back” and “I’m with Shea.”
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While it is encouraging to see some students were courageous enough to stand up and do the right thing, but, as Glenn explained, such situations are becoming all too common because technology has made it possible for people to cower behind the shield of their virtual lives.
“I believe we can find the solution, but it requires us to think in totally different ways,” Glenn said. “We’ve got to change everything. We have to take everything out of us. We have to look at everything: What is it that I believe? What is it that’s true? What am I doing? What are my children doing?”
“I was working on a major project last night that I really want to do with Ray Kurzweil, of all people. I really want to put something together that will open people’s minds and show them what’s just over the horizon. Our brightest days and our worst nightmares are just over the horizon. I’ll show you what can be good and bad, really bring it to life, show people because we’ve got to wake up,” Glenn continued. “How many friends do you have on Facebook? Answer the question. How many friends do you have on Facebook? Do you know the number? Last time I asked that question in a crowd, I said, ‘I don’t even know how many friends I have on Facebook.’ And somebody opened up their device and looked and said – I don’t even know what it was – 1.8, 2 million, whatever it is. I said, ‘No, it’s not. I have zero friends on Facebook, zero. Zero.’”
“How many friends do I really have,” Glenn asked. “I know I have one. He’s sitting in the studio with me, and the reason why I can count him as my friend is because he was there with me in my darkest days. So I know I have one. How many friends do you really have?”