SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Anyone who has a teen or tween in their life has at least heard of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”
The TV show – which focuses on a young girl’s decision to commit suicide – is extremely popular with adolescents.
The executive producer, pop star and actress Selena Gomez, has said the series – which is based on the young adult novel of the same name – attempts to bring awareness to suicide.
However, Seekonk school administrators this week sent out a letter to parents explaining why they think the show is too disturbing for children to handle.
In part, the letter read, “Due to the sensationalized treatment of youth suicide in the series, there could be potential risks to our students.”
“It glamorizes suicide. It glamorizes substance abuse. It contains very graphic material. It also spreads a message about unhealthy coping skills,” said Catherine Balasco, an adjustment counselor in Seekonk.
School Superintendent Arlene Bosco said parents have to know what their children may be watching, especially with content like this.
“I can imagine how scary this is for parents,” said Bosco. “Some of the messages were to be kind to other people. But, other ones were where people were actually identifying with the different characters in the storyline and that’s where I think that becomes concerning.”
Schools have a support system for students and parents, according to Bosco.
“We keep an eye on kids,” she said. “There is a process in place in schools that is good and helpful.”
Bosco said that support includes a high school psychologist, adjustment counselors, and school nurses.
School districts nationwide have released similar letters warning parents that the show may be perceived as glorifying and romanticizing suicide.