WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - A second Westchester County educator has reached out to parents with a safety message regarding the popular Netflix show, “13 Reasons Why.”
Earlier this week, Bedford Central School District Superintendent Christopher Manno sent a letter home to families regarding the show , which is based on a young adult novel of the same name by author Jay Asher that contains mature themes.
Rye Middle School Principal Ann Edwards was among those to send a letter of her own to parents with words of caution regarding the show, which includes depictions of rape, substance abuse, cyber bullying, voyeurism, and suicide.
“Some viewers and mental health organizations are beginning to question the series and its appropriation for impressionable young viewers,” she wrote.
According to officials, producers of the series are portraying the series as an “important dialogue” about teenage abuse, bullying and suicide. In his letter, Manno noted that the National Association of School Psychologists “cautions that its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to sensationalize the choices made by the character and/or develop revenge fantasies.”
“They say they hope the series can help those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide,” he said. “However, the mental health community worries that the series undermines the importance of help-seeking strategies, exposes students to multiple traumas and romanticizes the idea of suicide.”
There are several resources from mental health organizations to help parents become more educated and informed:
- 13 Reasons Why Tip Sheet from SAVE and the JED Foundation
- 13 Reasons Why - JED’s Point of View
- National Association of School Psychologists’ Guidance for Families and Educators
- 7 Essential Discussion Questions for 13 Reasons Why
- Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish ) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators