Message from the Superintendent - 13 Reasons Why Season 2 and teen suicide
The following message will be emailed today to parents of students in grades 4-12.
May 31, 2018
Even though students have been dismissed for the summer, their safety remains our highest concern, and I am writing to provide some resources to parents.
About a year ago, I shared some information about depression with parents of students in grades 4-12, and I specifically addressed what was then a new Netflix television show, 13 Reasons Why. The show dealt with a number of very serious issues affecting teens, chief among them suicide and how it impacts other students.
Netflix recently released the show’s second season, and its episodes reportedly depict another suicide attempt, a school shooting, and a rape trial. Now that students have a little more free time, it’s possible that they may view the show. I’m told that teens are also re-watching the previous season. It’s important to note that, last year, we received many reports of elementary-aged siblings watching the show with their older brothers and sisters.
Many healthcare professionals believe that the show glorified suicide, while others believed that it created much-needed awareness for what has traditionally been a taboo topic. As I said last year, I’m not qualified to offer a professional opinion on the show’s merits, but our counselors tell me that it’s always a great idea for parents to be aware of the shows their children are watching, particularly when the episodes cover complicated and mature subjects.
I have attached a document created by the National Association of School Psychologists that does a great job of summarizing why parents should be aware of 13 Reasons Why. The document also includes links to several suicide prevention, bullying, and other resources.
I apologize for beginning the summer with such a serious topic, but we do not stop caring for our students simply because they’re not currently walking the halls of our schools. I believe it’s important to give parents the tools they need to protect their children during the summer so that they can safely return to school in August.
If you have a question or concern, please contact our District Counseling Services Office at 832.668.7160.
Victor E. White, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools