Despite warnings from educators throughout the country - including several in the Hudson Valley - Netflix has announced its intention to renew its controversial series “13 Reasons Why” for a second season.
For weeks , local educators have been warning parents about the original series, which is based on a young adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher, but contains mature themes that include suicide and drug abuse .
Educators have cited the show’s mature subject matter , that includes graphic depictions of rape, substance abuse, cyber bullying, voyeurism and suicide, which may not be suitable for students. The show is also co-produced by Selena Gomez, which may have led to it reaching a wider - and younger - audience than the creators intended.
“It is important for (parents) to be cognizant of its availability, allure, content and popularity,” Bedford Central School District Superintendent Christopher Manno said last month. “The series romanticizes suicide as a viable option, portrays school support staff as being non-responsive to students in need and does not offer any appropriate responses or advice for students who may be in crisis.”
According to administrators with the Eastchester School District , the show has several shortcomings, including “the idea of a person committing suicide living on beyond death; adults - both parents and school personnel - being depicted as unavailable, unresponsive or uncaring and a lack of expression of how students can handle harmful situations in terms of getting help or utilizing healthy coping skills.”
“Some viewers and mental health organizations are beginning to question the series and its appropriation for impressionable young viewers,” Rye Middle School Principal Ann Edwards wrote to parents.
In an effort to assist parents, Hudson Valley educators have made resources available from the National Association of School Psychologists , which provides guidelines and information for parents. Other informational links can be found here:
- 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,
- Risk Factors and Warning Signs - American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,
- Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish ) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators .