TODAY   |  April 13, 2013

‘Glee’ stirs controversy with school shooting episode

The families of Newtown were warned before the latest episode of the hit show “Glee” aired, which portrays a school shooting. The episode has sparked further controversy in the debate over gun control, with some asking if it is too soon for a show to feature such a shooting. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> the fox show "glee" is known for musical performances but now the center of a big debate after this week's episode. it depicted a school shooting and many say the story line happened too soon after the newtown massacre. michelle franzen looks at the show that has people talking.

>> reporter: this episode begins like every other. high school glee club members struggling to make sense of teen life complete with drama filled dialogue and musical production . then halfway through the show takes a serious turn.

>> let's get started.

>> everyone spread out and hide.

>> students scramble to take cover after gun violence erupts at the fictional high school but the emotion and fear imitate real life .

>> i love you, dad. i know i don't always let you know that you taught me a lot.

>> reporter: the story line shocked many and drew mixed reaction following the sandy hook school shooting .

>> it's insensitive.

>> reporter: why?

>> some people really went through that.

>> it might make people uncomfortable but not insensitive.

>> reporter: the newtown superintendent sent a notes to parents before the episode aired warning families this has the potential to be disturbing to many of our students. the plot portrays cheerleader becky who has down syndrome as the student to brings the gun to school and fires it. that sparked further controversy in the debate over gun control and mental illness. lauren potter, the actress who portrays becky and her mother told "the huffington post " they didn't take issue with the story line but the writers of "glee" made a poor choice in choosing becky as the student with the gun. art imitating life and experts say creating more questions than answers.

>> are we causing more pain to the american public in not recognizing the wounds that newtown parents are experiencing and families?

>> reporter: for today michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.