There’s growing concern throughout the Tuscaloosa City Schools System stemming from the successful Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”The show, based on a novel by the same name published in 2007, is centered around a high school student named Hannah Baker after she commits suicide but leaves behind taped messages for those she believed had a part in driving her to kill herself.
It’s rated MA for mature audiences because of the weight and seriousness of the content along with graphic depictions of suicide and sexual assault, but that’s not stopping young audiences from viewing it.
Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Mike Daria said he was so disturbed by the show’s content that he sent a notice to every parent and guardian with students in the school system. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between 10 and 24, and viewing depictions of it can drive some who are on the edge to go through with the act.
“That’s why I want to make sure that parents were aware that it was out there,” he said.
Daria said when it comes to issues like this, getting out in front of it is the best policy.
“Our role in schools is to partner with parents, partner with the community,” Daria said.
Several parents said they appreciate the transparency.
“It lets me know that the school system is engaged in not only what is going on during, school hours but also letting parents know what is out there for their kids and what could possibly affect their kids at home and at school,” said parent Eddie Richardson.
Mary Hussey, also a parent, said it’s imperative that parents talk to their kids about weighty topics like this one.
“If you are very open and honest about things and you address them and keep the line of communication open, not only do you have kids that aren’t unhealthily curious, but you have kids that like to talk to you about things and like to come to you and make sure those problems are being dealt with when they are little before they are unmanageable,” she said.