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Parent Info on 13 Reasons Why

Reported by 204-enews@ipsd.org on 5/10/17

As parents, we want you to be aware of a new series on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why. The show is based on a book written by Jay Asher about a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind audio recordings documenting the 13 reasons why she chose to end her life. Some of the episodes are graphic in nature and include scenes involving sexual assault, substance abuse and the event of the suicide.

Parents may have watched the series and/or read the recent commentary in the Chicago Tribune.

Much has been written about this series, some in support of it forcing us to confront the issues surrounding teen suicide, while others are concerned about the graphic nature and the messages it sends to the viewer. We realize many students have seen this series or are planning to do so in the near future. It is our recommendation that parents use this as an opportunity to question if this series is appropriate for your child. If you know that your child is sensitive to the things they watch and easily influenced, it is possible this show may have a strong negative effect on your child.

If your child has already viewed the series, we encourage you to sit down with them and speak openly about what the series meant to him/her. It is also an opportunity for parents to talk about the alternatives to suicide when feeling sad, anxious and overwhelmed with the stress of life. We believe these conversations are crucial as your children navigates both their feelings and the complex issues that are introduced in the series.

Our community partner, 360 Youth Services, has provided resources below for parents on this topic. Information includes talking points for family discussions and 5 things to tell your child about this series. You can access the resources on our website.

As always, if a parent has a specific concern about his or her child, we encourage you to contact your school social worker, counselor or principal.

Parent Resources on 13 Reasons Why (pdf)

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