Wake Schools warn about '13 Reasons Why'

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13 Reasons Why from Netflix

The Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" is a hit with teens. And that's why parents should be concerned.

ABC11 asked the state's largest school district, Wake County, whether the district was talking to students at all about the miniseries. The day after our inquiry, WCPSS sent out an alert to parents warning families that the program is one many students have watched, are thinking about watching or have heard about. And, many of them are asking questions.


In downtown Raleigh, whether it was future parents like Ana Rojas and Baljit Singh or Susan Plattner, an experienced mom whose youngest is 18, everyone had heard of "13 Reasons Why"

"I've just heard it's a difficult show to watch," said Plattner. "And, it's about suicide."

The Netflix series centers on high schooler Hannah Baker who has committed suicide. She leaves behind audiotapes for the show's characters and the audience to figure out what led to her death.

In its letter to Wake County parents, the school district says the show can help bridge some important conversations about bullying, rape, and suicide. But, it goes on to say, "We do not recommend that your student watch the series".

"Honestly for my kid, I won't let him watch this thing," Singh said. "Because kids at that age, I don't know how they're going to perceive it."

"I just haven't talked about it to my child because I guess he's older. But that's really not a reason," Plattner said, as she acknowledged she's never had a conversation about suicide with her child. "I still should."

"I think it's good to bring this topic into your families to talk about. But, I think it should help them to not go to that level, ever," Rojas added.

The show does depict a graphic suicide. And, suicide experts warn about the potentially dangerous message to young viewers who are not great at separating fiction from reality.

"Teenagers can interpret things a lot differently when you're growing up. You're a teenager. There's so much going on," Plattner said when asked if the show's dramatic premise ran the risk glamorizing suicide.

"We have to empower our kids to find a different way," Rojas said.

In its letter to parents, Wake Schools says if your child plans to or has already watched the series-- Watch it together and have a discussion.

The district included a link to its suicide prevention page.

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