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Superintendent Letter Regarding Netflix Series "13 Reasons Why"

April 28, 2017    

Dear Parents/Guardians of Sewanhaka Central High School Students:

I am writing this letter to you to make certain that you are aware of the new NETFLIX series “13 Reasons Why” which is based on a young adult novel of the same name.  This series chronicles the story of a 17-year old who takes her own life while leaving behind audio recordings for thirteen people, recounting painful events in which she feels the thirteen people played a role, ultimately leading to her suicide.

Many professional organizations throughout the United States, including suicide prevention experts, have raised a number of concerns regarding this series.  This program does not address the mental health issues which contribute to society, nor does it offer prevention strategies and other solutions for crises teens face. The series graphically depicts the suicide death and addresses in detail a number of challenging topics to include bullying, sexual assault, sexual orientation, substance abuse, anxiety and depression.

The Sewanhaka Central High School District continues its effort to take a proactive approach toward preventing youth suicide.  After learning about this NETFLIX series, members of our Pupil Personnel Staff, teaching staff and administrative team continue to be responsive to the needs of our entire student body. We have also dedicated professional development opportunities to address emotional safety of our students.

I urge you to use caution in exposing your teenager to this program and offer support to you or your child in the event that either of you have questions and or concerns about the content.  Below are some links that will provide resources and support when and if needed.  This information has also been shared with school staff as well.

National Association of School Psychologists,

13 Reasons Why: Talking Points,

As always, I want to stress how much our school district cares about and values the emotional well-being of all of our students.  Our school psychologists, social workers, counselors and building level administrators are always available to you and your student to address any issue regarding your child’s physical, social and/or emotional safety.  Please feel free to contact them at any time.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph P. Ferrie, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools