Lewisville ISD sent a letter to all parents of middle and high school students Tuesday regarding the popular new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” The show deals with the topic of suicide by a high school student who releases audio tapes explaining her reasons to the people who she blames.
The subject matter is topical not only due to the suicide, but for reasons that can only be explained in this article with spoilers.
Netflix has released some talking points about the show, and recommends parents watch shows with their kids and talk to them about tough topics.
Here is the letter:
Lewisville ISD Families,
May is Children’s Mental Health Month, and the Lewisville ISD Guidance and Counseling Department is joining with other local districts, as well as districts across our state and the nation, to shine a light on this important topic.
The opportunity to focus on mental health is particularly timely, as a Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why is gaining popularity among middle school and high school students. Based on the popular novel of the same name, the program is rated MA (mature audiences) and some counseling and educational experts believe it glorifies suicide.
As your partner in the education of your children, our district wants to make you aware of this program and its widespread impact on students. We encourage you to open a dialogue with your children about this show. Below are some recommendations from the National Association of School Psychologists for families wanting to begin that discussion. Additional information is also available from The Jed Foundation, a non-profit suicide prevention organization.
If you have questions or concerns specific to your child, you are encouraged to reach out to your school counselor or administrator for help.
Monya Crow M.Ed., CSC, LPC-S
Director of Guidance and Counseling
Lewisville Independent School District
Guidance for Families Discussing 13 Reasons Why
- Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. We don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, but if they are, do tell them you want to watch it with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if they have thoughts about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
- Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
- Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
- Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.