FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): An area school district is warning parents about a popular Netflix series that covers some very serious topics.
Southwest Allen County Schools sent out a letter to parents Tuesday to inform them about the series “13 Reasons Why,” which follows a fictional teenage girl who deals with bullying and rape, culminating in her decision to take her own life.
The series, based on a 2007 novel by the same name, is rated TV-MA, which stands for Mature Audiences. Netflix is also in the process of adding advisories at the beginning of each episode. Still, the district adds that if your child is watching the program, you should watch it with them to talk about the themes and topics it covers.
Superintendent Dr. Philip Downs included a list of talking points with the letter, to help parents and guardians have those discussions. You can also find those talking points below:
1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
2. If they exhibit warning signs don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and them remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety, or the safety of one of their peers.