A Note to our Riverview Community Regarding 13 Reasons Why - Season 2
Promotional photo courtesy of Netflix.
13 Reasons Why
Last year, Netflix released a controversial, but extremely popular television series, 13 Reasons Why, based on a 2007 best-selling novel of the same name by Jay Asher. The first season focused on high school student Hannah Baker who, prior to taking her life by suicide, recorded the reasons which led to her decision, and sends the audio recordings to the people she blames. The show generated a great deal of discussion, along with divisive reactions, due to its frank and graphic depictions of topics including suicide, rape, abuse, underage drinking, sexism, LGBTQ issues, and survivor's guilt.
On Friday, May 18, 2018, Netflix will be binge-releasing Season Two of the series, which expands on the story and themes addressed in the debut season.
As the show's popularity increased last year, particularly among high school and middle school-aged viewers, a great number of concerns were raised from parents, students, and mental health advocates and professionals, regarding the manner with which topics were addressed and presented in the series. An additional concern is that parents or guardians may not be aware that their children have even viewed the series, with all episodes available for viewing on the Netflix service, and easily accessible to subscribers on their personal computers, tablets, and smartphones.
For Season Two, Netflix has made steps to try and mitigate concerns around topics explored in the show, as it pertains to younger audiences. Warnings will air prior to each episode, along with reminders from actors in the show on resources available for people who might be in distress. A number of short videos have been produced for viewers to watch regarding specific topics and themes covered in the program.
Netflix has also released the following statement: "This show is rated MA for mature audiences, it covers many issues including depression, sexual assault and suicide. If you are struggling, this series may not be right for you or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult."
Like Season One, the new season of the show has been rated TV-MA (Mature Audiences), the television equivalent to an R-rating for motion pictures with similar content.
If your student does watch the new season, the previous season, or read the book, you may wish to discuss:
- The importance of treating people with kindness.
- How to cope with the death of a friend, parent, or loved one.
- Who students can talk to when experiencing emotional distress, or what to do when they suspect someone needs help. Students should be reminded that school counselors are trusted professionals and sources of help.
(Note: The actor portraying the counselor in 13 Reasons Why's first season does not respond to Hannah appropriately, a decision made intentionally by the creators of the book and series.)
For those seeking assistance, guidance, or additional information regarding the topics raised in the program and book, a number of resources are accessible and available.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed 24/7. If your teen or someone they know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-8255. You may also visit the website for the Lifeline.
Talking points were created with the release of Season One, by the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and JED Foundation, an organization whose mission is to protect emotional health and prevent teen suicide.
The University of Washington's Forefront Program has extensive information and resources for parents, educators and teens, specific to the series.
The Crisis Text Line is available for those concerned about themselves or a friend, by texting 741-741 on their mobile phone.
RAINN provides staffing 24/7 to assist victims of sexual assault, through a hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) or via a live, anonymous, and confidential online chat with a trained support specialist.
The Trevor Project is an organization committed to assisting LGBTQ youth, dealing with crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of support in a caring environment. They can be contacted by phone (1-866-488-7386), confidential online chat, a confidential text message system, or access to a private, secure, and monitored TrevorSpace social networking site.
Common Sense Media has provided a parents guide for Season One of the series, offering detailed descriptions of the content included across all 13 episodes. For Season Two, they have created a video alerting parents to what is included in the new season.
Last year, Netflix released 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons, a 30-minute featurette on the series, with cast, crew, producers, and writers providing an overview of the show, with additional information. This is also available for viewing on the Netflix service and is likewise rated TV-MA. Netflix has not yet indicated whether a similar featurette will be released, coinciding with Season Two.
If you have any further questions, concerns, or need additional support, please contact any of the undersigned below.
Aaron Clifford, Cedarcrest High School (A-G) - firstname.lastname@example.org - (425) 844-4864
Amber Claussen, Cedarcrest High School (H-N) - email@example.com - (425) 844-4880
Sheri Erhardt, Cedarcrest High School (O-Z) - firstname.lastname@example.org - (425) 844-4865
Carrie Diligencia, Tolt Middle School (A-K) - email@example.com - (425) 844-4608
Tim Suchsland, Tolt Middle School (L-Z) - firstname.lastname@example.org - (425) 844-4609
Jessica Volpentesta, Riverview Learning Center - email@example.com - (425) 844-4964
John Bomar, Riverview Learning Center - firstname.lastname@example.org - (425) 844-4960
Amie Karkainen, Tolt Middle School - email@example.com - (425) 844-4600
Ray La Bate, Cedarcrest High School - firstname.lastname@example.org - (425) 844-4800
Dr. Anthony L. Smith - email@example.com - (425) 844-4504