Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing to inform you about a new Netflix original series called 13 Reasons Why. It follows a high school student who receives 13 tapes made by a classmate before she killed herself. The tapes explain the 13 reasons why she took her own life.
The fictional series is based on a young adult novel but not intended for audiences under 17. It has caused concerns about the graphic way it portrays suicide and sexual assault, and how this content could impact the emotional well-being of those watching it.
We urge parents to be aware of this series to fully understand the mature content your child may be exposed to. Many students may be watching this on-demand series now, particularly in light of its increased national media exposure in recent weeks.
Suicide is something that impacts many communities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 17 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide and eight percent have made an attempt in the previous 12 months.
This is why it is important for students to have an opportunity to speak with you, a school counselor, mental health professional or a responsible adult about the questions and feelings this show may cause. Please visit the National Association of School Psychologists website for further information as well as guidance for educators and families. We are also attaching a resource from the National Association of School Psychologists to assist with this, if needed.
The safety and well-being of our students is our first priority. If you feel that your child needs support at school, please reach out to us. Thank you.
Dr. Stephen Young