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Why Schools Are Warning Parents About a Netflix Series

Apr 27, 2017  •  Post A Comment

The Netflix drama series “13 Reasons Why” has prompted school districts across the country to send warning letters to parents to ensure that they understand what their children are watching.

The show, which is nearing renewal for a second season, tells the fictional story of a high school girl who commits suicide, leaving behind audio recording for 13 people she says had something to do with her decision to kill herself. Co-produced by Selena Gomez, the Netflix series is based on Jay Asher’s 2007 young adult novel of the same name.

ABC News quotes part of a letter sent this week to parents of public school students in Montclair, N.J., which says: “While the show is fictional, the series is extremely graphic, including several rape scenes, and raises significant concerns about the emotional safety of those watching it.”

The letter was written by Andrew Evangelista, Montclair Public Schools District’s mental health and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) coordinator, who said that after watching the series, “It just didn’t seem right. There were a lot of questions I had, about how the girl was portrayed and the lack of mental health resources that were available to her.”

People magazine notes that schools are concerned that the series might glamorize teen suicide.

“Throughout the series, there are instances of sexual assault, rape, underage drinking, driving under the influence, body shaming and, ultimately, a graphic scene depicting Hannah’s suicide,” People reports, adding: “In a public statement, the National Association of School Psychologists issued a warning against viewing the series to parents of ‘vulnerable youth.’”

People quotes the statement from NASP saying of the series: “Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies. They may easily identify with the experiences portrayed and recognize both the intentional and unintentional effects on the central character.”

The statement adds that “research shows that exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide.”

One Comment

  1. This show is absolutely disgusting. No redeeming value whatsoever. If they are trying to get a message to kids, they are way off the mark. Bad form, Netflix. Bad form.

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