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Parent Alert: Netflix series prompting some student discussions about suicide, assault, and bullying

April 26, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Netflix recently released a series "13 Reasons Why," a show based on a book with the same title, by Jay Asher. It is a fictional account of a teenage character who dies by suicide. The series is rated TV-MA (Mature Audience Only), which means it is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17 because it may contain one or more of the following:
  • crude indecent language (L),
  • explicit sexual activity (S),
  • or graphic violence (V).
This miniseries attempts to address many topics that can lead to important conversations with students, such as bullying, cyber-bullying, assault, rape, and suicide. However, aspects of the miniseries go against the recommendations of mental health professionals and suicide prevention models.
We want to bring this to your attention because we have found many of our students have already watched some of the series, have heard about it, or are asking questions about it.
We do not recommend that your student watch the series. However, if your student is going to or already has watched the series, we encourage you to watch it together and discuss your reactions to the issues raised in the series.
Here are some resources to help spark a meaningful conversation about the subject matter:
The following articles relating to “13 Reasons Why” may also be helpful:
In WCPSS, we have a suicide prevention program called Signs of Suicide in all of our middle and high schools.
In addition, trained school staff work daily to prevent suicide by recognizing and assisting students who show warning signs or risk factors, which can include:
  • depression
  • mental health concerns
  • self-harm
  • thoughts of suicide
WCPSS professionals screen recognized students, notify parents/guardians, and connect them with community services when appropriate to address their needs. We watch, we listen, we understand, and we do it without judgment.
We never want students to feel that suicide is the solution to a problem. 
For more WCPSS information, go to
You can also contact your student’s school and ask for assistance.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 


If your needs are immediate, contact 911.

Bren Elliott
Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK