The recent debate around the television series 13 Reasons Why on whether the show handles the sensitive subject of teenage suicide properly has continued on as schools have begun to issue letters to the families of students to warn them about Netflix’s new drama.
Following recent criticism from various mental health groups, officials from four different US schools raised an alarm and believe parents need to be aware of the topics in the series.
One letter sent home to parents from a New Jersey public school in Montclair said: “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.“
Montclair’s Public Schools District and the harassment, mental health, bullying and intimidation coordinator, one Andrew Evangelista, thought that there was a need to raise student awareness after he saw the series himself, saying “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.”
ABC News reported that in a different letter send to parents by the officials at the New York private group, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, wrote: “We have heard from students, particularly in the middle school, who have viewed the series and/or have been discussing it with peers, but we know upper school students have also watched the series, and we are concerned about whether students in our lower schools are aware of it too, especially those students with older siblings.
“While the show’s producers claim their intent is to start an important dialogue about bullying and suicide, mental health experts have expressed deep concerns about how the show may be perceived as glorifying and romanticising suicide, and they worry about how it may trigger children who are vulnerable.“