As teens prepare to watch 13 Reasons Why, 1 school board is putting parents on alert

With Friday’s release of season two of 13 Reasons Why — a popular Netflix television show about suicide  — the Peel District School Board (PDSB) is alerting families of the potential threat it says the show could pose to some children.

In a May 17 letter, the PDSB warned the show will explore a number of storylines that could lead to a larger conversation about subjects including sexual assault, gun violence and more, which may be emotionally triggering for vulnerable students.

“Series like this one can lead to misconceptions and misinformation about suicide, and possibly to the glorification of suicide and suicide contagion,” the board said in its letter.

“Although this series has been promoted by the creators as a tool to help students recognize their impact on others to prevent suicide, it does not address mental illness or present viable alternatives to suicide, including seeking support from mental health professionals. At no point do the actors seek help from family members, friends or other trusted adults,” it continued.

Petra Korkomaz, a Grade 12 student, said a lot of her peers have watched the show and she too plans to watch the second season.

“As I was watching it, I did really like it because I’m sort of into thrillers,” she said of season one.

“Obviously there are some things I don’t agree with, like how graphic it was, but overall I think I liked it. I get the whole idea of the season and the purpose of the show, but I think showing the graphics of what went down was really triggering for some people and just inappropriate.”

Audrey Siciliano, who watched season one with her mom, said it was “really emotional” to watch, knowing that people in her school are going through the same issues highlighted in the show.