(845) 563-7900     400 Old Forge Hill Road, New Windsor, NY 12553

Vails Gate Elementary School

Letters from Superintendent to Parents Concerning Netflix Series, 13 Reasons Why


Dear Parents and Guardians:

The intent of this letter is to make you aware of the popular Netflix original series "13 Reasons Why". The rating for this show is TV- Mature, which is not suitable for children under 17 years old. However, we are aware of its recent popularity among our students who are mostly younger than the age suggested.

Hannah Baker, the main character, makes a set of 13 tapes detailing her path towards suicide and highlights the individuals who she holds responsible. I took this show personally as a father of a teenager and a superintendent of 12 thousand scholars.

We have many students who struggle with anxiety, depression, and demonstrate self-injurious behaviors. Some of these behaviors are suicidal. We fear that the fictional Netflix series romanticizes suicide. I caution viewers because exposure to suicide or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, may spur those who struggle with mental health conditions to contemplate selfmutilation.

Certainly, Netflix does a powerful job of storytelling. However, the series includes the following shortcomings:


District personnel are prepared to assist students and families. We are paying close attention to signs of students who are at-risk. We encourage you to speak with your child to determine whether he/she has read the book or viewed the series. If so, please use the show as an opportunity to talk about some of its complicated issues and create a safe place for your child to discuss his or her feelings with you.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has issued educators and parents several cautions and considerations. Moreover, we are providing additional resources to support discussions about suicide with adolescents on our website. We urge parents to research the series to fully understand. A list of talking points is included to help with the conversation.

Through the Work of All,
Roberto Padilla, Ed.D
Superintendent

Resources/Advice to Teens and their Families


If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide:


If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or trauma:


If you or someone you know has experienced bullying:


Resources about suicide can be found at:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml
http://www.spsamerica.org/

Resources about depression can be found at:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

Resources about childhood trauma can be found at:
http://www.nctsn.org/

Resources about sexual assault and/or PTSD can be found at:
http://www.nsvrc.org/
https://www.cdc.gov/masstrauma/factsheets/public/coping.pdf
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

Resources about bullying can be found at:
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandsafety/bullying.html











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