The following was sent via email to the South Orange Maplewood School District community

Dear Families of Secondary School Students,

We are writing to inform you of a recently released Netflix series called “13 Reasons Why.” You may have heard of the series, since it is has attracted a large teenage audience, sparked a national debate, and has been the focus of media attention. 

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“13 Reasons Why” is based on a popular book, and portrays a high school student who takes her own life and sends out 13 cassette tapes to those whom she blames for her death.  While the show is fictional, the series includes graphic depictions of rape and suicide, glamorizes suicide, and shows alcohol misuse and bullying.  It does not address mental health issues or alternatives to suicide, and the adults in the film do not respond appropriately to issues as they arise. 

If you are not aware of this series, you should know that our students have probably heard of it and may have already watched it and/or discussed it with friends and on social media.

As adults, this presents an opportunity for open conversations on important issues that confront our students.  We provide some resources below to support you in these discussions:  

If you have concerns about your child and their emotional well-being, students can request assistance from their guidance counselor, or you can contact a school guidance counselor or administrator, or an outside mental health professional.

South Orange Maplewood School District