Thirteen Reason Why: Not an Appropriate Conversation Starter in Schools

A month or so ago, Jefferson county public schools website released a article encouraging parents to use the Netflix original Thirteen Reasons Why to start conversations about suicide and depression with their children. This , in my opinion, was very poor attempt at encouraging a honest, and intentional discussion of the serious topic. While JCPS strives for educating students with both book knowlage and life knowlage , it is clear that they cherry pick the educational topics easiest to talk about and leave the rest for parents to teach at home. For some children this is detrimental to their learning and future, because of a lack of involvement in the education process at home.

Suicide and depression in teens is a real problem that should not be glorified. Unfourtionatly that is exactly what Thirteen Reasons Why  spends the entirety of season one doing. Depression is not easy to hide. It is ugly and it builds up gradually until the snowball effect becomes so evident that everything seems like a hopeless disaster. This show fails to explore that ,instead focusing on depression as something almost comical. Thirteen Reasons Why glorifies suicide in the end by having Hannah Baker slit her wrists in a gruesome and painful way instead of overdosing as she does in the novel. If anything JCPS should be encouraging students and parents to read the novel instead of watching the Netflix original . The new show is the picture of a extremely liberal world. No school in society today is composed of 90 percent minorities, lgbtq , and abused teenagers; for some reason that’s what the school portrayed in the school is composed of . This show is a unrealistic portrayal of a pressing issue in society and because it is unrealistic Youth look at it and come to conclusions that are not acceptable in the adult world.  Suicide is not an escape.

I urge parents of JCPS students to use the book as a talking point about suicide if they must. Instead parents should be willing to have the embarrassingly difficult conversation with their teens without prompting . JCPS should also being willing to educate children on this topic at school , being sure not to make them feel ashamed of emotions.

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