Abbott Elementary Won’t Tackle Gun Violence, Creator Says

Abbott Elementary creator, writer, executive producer, and star Quinta Brunson took to Twitter to express her dismay with a fan request. Brunson stated that she is frequently asked for a school shooting episode to address gun violence issues. This comes right after Tuesday’s elementary school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults lost their lives (the shooter was also killed). Brunson was adamant that she would not be writing a school shooting episode for the ABC series.

Brunson’s Twitter thread began with her expressing her bewilderment at the request and went on to urge communities to hold elected officials accountable:

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While school shootings have been addressed on other television shows, including Glee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Degrassi: The Next Generation, One Tree Hill, American Horror Story and Law and Order, it is atypical for a 30-minute sitcom to tackle such a difficult and divisive topic.

Brunson appeared and served as a writer on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show before the launch of Abbott Elementary in January. The hit series follows a group of dedicated teachers, their often unaware and self-absorbed principal, and the school’s quirky custodian as they work together at a Philadelphia public school. The group often finds themselves at odds with the school district that doesn’t always seem to have the children’s best interests at heart. Abbott Elementary stars Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

The show has received positive reviews, with teachers and school professionals often commending its relatability. Abbott Elementary’s ratings quadrupled across all platforms just within weeks of its premiere and the sitcom was rated ABC’s No. 1 new comedy in two years among adults ages 18-49. Abbott Elementary was picked up for a second season in March.

Brunson’s Connection to the Public School System

Aside from creating a relatable show that highlights the issues that educators often face, Brunson has been vocal about her respect for educators. Her mother was a teacher at a Philadelphia public school, providing Brunson with a special connection to the education system.

In March, Variety reported that Abbott Elementary (through ABC) was teaming up with Scholastic to provide underfunded schools, including Harrity Elementary (which Abbott Elementary is based on), with free book fairs. The book fairs took place at seven schools between March 14-18. Each student received two free books, and teachers received ten.

In May, Brunson partnered with Box Tops for Education to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. Brunson and Box Tops for Education donated $20,000 to the Philadelphia middle school that Brunson attended.

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