Dear Parents and Guardians,
Last week, the district received a notification from Nationwide Children’s Hospital pertaining to the release of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” The series tells the story of a 17-year-old high school junior named Hannah Baker, who commits suicide. She leaves 13 cassette tapes containing audio messages for 13 people she believes played a role in why she committed suicide. Besides the topic of teen suicide, the show depicts other difficult issues such as bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, and rape. Some scenes are graphic.
Sources recommend younger students do not view the video. We recognize that older siblings and their friends may be viewing and discussing it, and it may be a topic of conversation among parents at school and community events. It is our intent to provide you additional information that will serve as a valuable resource.
The series is confronting and tackling issues that require increased awareness in our community. The show also provides the opportunity for immature and vulnerable students to watch without supervision and/or appropriate guidance putting them at risk of misinterpreting, glorifying, or attaching to the character’s struggles in unhealthy ways.
The district wants you to be aware of the release of this series and the conversations that middle and high schools may be having. Furthermore, as parents or guardians, the district wants you prepared to respond appropriately if your child engages you in a conversation about the film.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital provided the link that follows. Dr. John Ackerman, a clinical psychologist in Behavior Health and Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. You are highly encouraged to read the link.
The following link contains information from the National Association of School Psychologists with information on how to respond to the film:
It is our hope you find the information useful. As parents/guardians, it is important that you realize the impact of "13 Reasons Why" may have on your child. It is critical we all provide a safe, supportive space for our children to learn and grow.
William R. Harbron